On Wednesday at around 1:20 pm CT, the NBA world erupted after the typical basketball news-breakers emerged from slumber to announce that Damian Lillard had been traded to the Milwaukee Bucks. After a summer that was absolutely clogged with Dame trade discourse—which included Lillard’s open desire to play in Miami—the Bucks arose from the smoke to finally give Giannis Antetokounmpo the generational running mate he has wanted for years now.
This move is an obvious call for celebration, and I would be lying to you if I said I wasn’t bouncing-off-the-walls excited about it. However, as the details began to trickle out surrounding the three-team deal, I realized this move did not come without a cost: the Jrue Holiday era in Milwaukee is over.
Full trade, per sources:— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) September 27, 2023
- Bucks: Damian Lillard
- Blazers: Jrue Holiday, Deandre Ayton, Toumani Camara, 2029 first-round Bucks pick and Bucks pick swap
- Suns: Jusuf Nurkic, Nassir Little, Keon Johnson, Grayson Allen https://t.co/56I888abMs
The “NBA is a business at the end of the day” cliche rings true here.
I also think it’s important to mention that Portland will almost certainly trade Holiday elsewhere, as his situation clashes with their long-term plans to rebuild. In all likelihood, he’ll be in a better spot next season.
Even though this move clearly makes the Bucks better in the long run, it still really sucks to lose one of the main guys. It especially stings after Holiday expressed interest in finishing his career in Milwaukee just yesterday. It truly is a business.
Since being traded to the Bucks from the Pelicans in November of 2020, Jrue has been a franchise cornerstone. In his three seasons in Milwaukee, he earned an NBA All-Star selection, made three NBA All-Defensive teams (two firsts and a second), and two NBA Teammate of the Year awards. He also won the league’s Sportsmanship Award in 2021, and his play was imperative to the Bucks hoisting the Larry O’Brien trophy that summer. Quite the resume for a three-year run.
His steal off Devin Booker and lob to Giannis in the waning moments of Game 5 in the ‘21 Finals will always be revered in Milwaukee sports history.
He has been a key piece in the identity of this era of Bucks basketball, both on and off the court. The combination of effort, intensity, and selflessness that he exudes is rare, and I think the Bucks were beyond lucky to land him in the genesis of a championship window.
So I say: thank you, Jrue!