By Matt Mueller Culture Editor Published Sep 27, 2023 at 2:16 PM Photography: Portland Trail Blazers Facebook

So, uh, apparently the Bucks brass heard Giannis loud and clear when he said he wants to be on a consistent contender, because Milwaukee – not Miami – somehow just traded for Portland Trail Blazers all-star sharpshooter Damian Lillard. 

According to both NBA scoop-ologists Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN and The Athletic's Shams Charania, the Bucks have landed one of the most explosive players in the league in a three-way trade with Portland and the Phoenix Suns. While the Bucks get Lillard, they certainly lose something in the trade too, though, as they'll send beloved all-star Jrue Holiday to the Blazers plus a first-round pick in 2029 and pick-swaps in 2028 and 2030, while Grayson Allen will head to the Suns. Portland will also receive Deandre Ayton and Toumani Camara from the Suns, while Phoenix gets Jusuf Nurkic, Nassir Little and Keon Johnson in the deal. 

The reported deal immediately graduates the Milwaukee Bucks into the upper tier of leading contenders for the NBA Finals this upcoming season, putting two of the current top ten players in the league and two of the highest-scoring players of the past season on the court together each night. Obviously losing Jrue Holiday – an NBA champion with the Bucks two seasons ago, a defensive stalwart and high-character glue guy on and off the court – deeply hurts. But on the court, whatever defensive pressure the move might add to Giannis' workload will be balanced out by less pressure on the offensive end, where Lillard should help space the floor and run a more consistently threatening offense. 

As long as Lillard wants to play for Milwaukee, that is. The only real concern hanging over the trade is that, for most of the offseason, Lillard has been fairly vocal about preferring to play with the Miami Heat. Now, that being said, Lillard's issues with the fellow small-market Blazers were less about size and more about competitiveness – and the Bucks are far more competitive, in the recent past and now, than the currently rebuilding Blazers. Plus, Lillard's been on the record as wanting to play with Giannis. 

Now with this trade – and judging by his first public statement since the news broke – he will.

The Bucks' new big three of Giannis, Dame and Middleton will begin perhaps the most anticipated season in the franchise's history on Thursday, Oct. 26 at home against the Philadelphia 76ers. The full schedule can be found here; for more Bucks updates and info, stay tuned to OnMilwaukee.

And a final cheers to you, Jrue Holiday. Your time with the Bucks may be over, but your place in Milwaukee sports history will be forever. 

Matt Mueller Culture Editor

As much as it is a gigantic cliché to say that one has always had a passion for film, Matt Mueller has always had a passion for film. Whether it was bringing in the latest movie reviews for his first grade show-and-tell or writing film reviews for the St. Norbert College Times as a high school student, Matt is way too obsessed with movies for his own good.

When he's not writing about the latest blockbuster or talking much too glowingly about "Piranha 3D," Matt can probably be found watching literally any sport (minus cricket) or working at - get this - a local movie theater. Or watching a movie. Yeah, he's probably watching a movie.