Milwaukee to acquire Damian Lillard from Portland in blockbuster three-team trade

Dame Time with the Portland Trail Blazers is over. Dame Time is now on the clock with the Milwaukee Bucks.

The Blazers have reached a deal with All-NBA guard Damian Lillard to trade him to the Bucks as part of a three-team trade that includes the Phoenix Suns, a person familiar with the deal told USA TODAY Sports.

The person requested anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly about the deal until the trade is officially announced.

In the deal, Portland would get Jrue Holiday, Deandre Ayton, Toumani Camara, a 2029 first-round Bucks pick and rights to swap a future pick with Milwaukee. Phoenix would receive Jusuf Nurkic, Nassir Little, Keon Johnson and Grayson Allen.

The trade would mark the end of an era for Lillard and the Blazers and a new beginning for both sides.

Lillard had hoped the Blazers would build a contender around him with veterans, but when the team drafted Scoot Henderson with the No. 3 pick in the June draft and didn’t make the kind of moves that Lillard envisioned, Lillard requested a trade shortly after free agency opened June 30.

It took time for the Blazers to make a deal because Lillard wanted to play for the Miami Heat, and the Blazers sought the best deal for their rebuild under general manager Joe Cronin and coach Chauncey Billups.

On June 26, Lillard and his agent had met with Cronin to discuss the direction of the team. Then, when NBA free agency opened Friday, Portland moved quickly to re-sign forward Jerami Grant, a Lillard favorite, to a five-year deal worth up to $160 million. The Blazers, however, did not make a move for other big-name players through free agency or trades.

Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard signs autographs before a game.
Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard signs autographs before a game.

"We have been clear that we want Dame here, but he notified us today he wants out and he'd prefer to play someplace else," Cronin said in a statement shortly after Lillard's request. "What has not changed for us is that we're committed to winning, and we are going to do what's best for the team in pursuit of that goal."

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Known for his scoring, especially from deep range, Lillard, 33, brings elite offensive skills to the Bucks. He is one of the NBA’s best scorers and playmakers. Last season, he averaged career-highs in points (32.2) and rebounds (4.8) and matched a career-high in shooting percentage (46.3%). He also shot 37.1% on 3-pointers and averaged 7.3 assists.

He is a seven-time All-Star and seven-time All-NBA selection, including third-team All-NBA in 2022-23. He was also named one of the league’s greatest 75 players at the start of the 2021-22 season.

Lillard often displayed his loyalty through words and actions, but he also wanted to compete for a title. The Blazers made the playoffs eight times during Lillard’s 11 seasons with the franchise, reaching the Western Conference finals just once (2019). In June 2021, the Blazers fired long-time coach Terry Stotts, who had been the only head coach of Lillard's NBA career. Portland replaced him with Billups, who has led the team to a combined 60-104 record over the past two seasons.

Portland missed the playoffs in 2022 and 2023, and given the focus on youth, Lillard sought a new team. Lillard has four years and $216.2 million left on his contract, and he will be paid $63.2 million in the final season of the deal in 2026-27.

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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Bucks to acquire Damian Lillard in blockbuster three-team deal