After buying and selling for Damian Lillard on Wednesday, the Milwaukee Bucks are actually the favorites to win the NBA Championship. [Image: Flickr.com / Erik Drost]
Lillard and Giannis collectively
It’s Dame Time in Milwaukee. On Wednesday afternoon, the Milwaukee Bucks shocked the NBA, buying and selling for Damian Lillard, one of the crucial electrifying offensive gamers the league has ever seen. It was anticipated that the Portland Trailblazers would commerce their long-time star, however few thought the Bucks had the property to spin a deal. And now the Bucks have each Lillard and Giannis Antetokounmpo.
earlier than the commerce, the Bucks had the fourth-best odds to win the championship
Milwaukee was already among the many favorites to win the 2023-2024 NBA Championship, however this commerce has vaulted the Bucks to title favorites. Earlier than the commerce, the Bucks had the fourth-best odds to win the championship, behind the defending champs Denver Nuggets, the Boston Celtics, and the Phoenix Suns. Now they’re primary.
Wednesday morning, Caesars Sportsbook had the Bucks at +750 to win the NBA title. Now their odds have halved to +375. Behind them are the Nuggets at +425, the Celtics at +500, and the Suns at +550. The Golden State Warriors are a distant fifth at +1000.
Jrue Vacation was key to the deal
In fact, the Milwaukee Bucks needed to give one thing as much as get a participant as nice as Damian Lillard. Utilizing the Suns as a 3rd staff to facilitate the deal, the Bucks relinquished All-Star and mega-elite perimeter defender Jrue Vacation, Grayson Allen, a 2029 first-round draft decide, and 2028 and 2030 decide swaps.
Buying and selling somebody as nice each on and off the courtroom as Jrue Vacation was not straightforward for the Bucks, however the staff has had bother not too long ago within the playoffs in end-game conditions on offense, so in buying an electrical offensive participant like Lillard, they hope to resolve that drawback.
The whole commerce is as follows: Bucks get Damian Lillard. Trailblazers get Jrue Vacation, Bucks’ 2029 first-round decide, Bucks decide swaps in 2028 and 2030, Deandre Ayton, and Toumani Camara. Suns get Jusuf Nurkic, Nassir Little, Keon Johnson, and Grayson Allen.
What they offer up on protection they need to get again in spades on offense (not that Jrue is an offensive slouch – he merely struggled the final couple years within the playoffs). The potential pick-and-roll combo of Lillard and Giannis Antetokounmpo will frighten the league and Khris Middleton ought to get much more open appears from the perimeter.
The Bucks, thanks largely to the addition of Vacation, gained the NBA championship in 2021, however regardless of being the very best regular-season staff within the final 5 years, they’ve had disappointing playoff runs apart from that one 12 months.
Lillard had requested out of Portland
As talked about, it was recognized that Portland was going to commerce Lillard. He has been the Trailblazers’ rock for over a decade, however has by no means actually had the supporting solid to take the staff to a title. In his tenure, Portland solely made it so far as the Western Convention Finals as soon as.
Phrase is that Portland will look to show Vacation round for younger gamers and/or picks.
Lillard has beforehand expressed a need to remain in Portland long-term and even signed a contract extension in 2022. However the Blazers have been unhealthy the final two seasons and have dedicated to a youth rebuild, so Lillard instructed the staff he needed to be traded. Phrase is that Portland will look to show Vacation round for younger gamers and/or picks.
Lillard had additionally mentioned he needed to play in Miami, so for the whole offseason, it was thought that the Miami Warmth have been the most certainly staff to get him. Plus, the Warmth had extra property than the Bucks with which to swing a commerce. Simply this week, stories have been that the Toronto Raptors often is the favorites within the Damian Lillard sweepstakes, however the Bucks (with assist from the Suns) simply melted faces and grabbed the all-time nice.