By: Sam Fretto
The official trade:
Trail Blazers Receive:
Damian Lillard earlier in the summer had requested a trade from the Portland Trail Blazers after 11 seasons with the team. When this request came out, most had speculated the Miami Heat were the perfect fit. The Heat were coming off a Finals appearance, their 2nd in 3 seasons, and they also had the assets. Nothing ever came to fruition with Miami for multiple reasons and Milwaukee has stepped in.
With a core of Giannis, Middleton and now Damian Lillard, it gives one of the most dynamic offenses in the NBA another layer as Lillard can stretch the floor like few in the league can do as well as create his own shot, something their previous point guard Jrue Holiday failed to do.
What This Means For The Bulls
The Chicago Bulls are a team teetering out in the middle of the pack, known as purgatory in the NBA. They aren’t good enough to be a legitimate threat to contenders and they aren’t bad enough to be in the running for the top pick in the NBA draft. The Bulls were a team in discussion to potentially trade for Lillard, albeit probably not too serious, but now they go to a division rival.
The only thing this really changes for the Bulls and the outlook of the season is they have to face Damian Lillard 4 times in a season instead of 2. I have the Bulls finishing somewhere around 38 wins and they are currently projected at 37.5 wins. Overall, the Bulls will be facing an even tougher Milwaukee team that they didn’t have a chance at beating before.
If anything, the move of Jrue Holiday to the Trail Blazers could lead to him being put on the trade market again and the Bulls who are in need of a point guard could strike, however, that is a move for later down the line.
What This Means For The NBA
The move of Lillard to the Bucks has massively shifted the NBA. The Milwaukee Bucks were one of the favorites to win it all heading into the playoffs last season until they got upset by the 8-seed Miami Heat. Injuries could be used as an excuse but the Bucks still probably should have won that series. A guy like Damian Lillard would’ve given the Bucks a chance to do just that.
An upgrade from Jrue Holiday to Damian Lillard is huge for the Bucks because they now have a legitimate superstar next to Giannis, something the Bucks have not done in Giannis’ career. Another aspect of the Bucks that may get overlooked is usage. The Bucks won’t need to rely on Giannis to play as many games and minutes now that they have Dame. He can save his body for a deep playoff run and be well-rested come mid-May.
The Bucks projected win total sits at 54.5 wins and they are the current favorites to win the Eastern Conference, with the Boston Celtics sitting as the only formidable opponent. As for the entire league, The Milwaukee Bucks are the favorite as well.
This Damian Lillard trade has propelled the Bucks to being the best team in the NBA, in what is considered a 4 team race for the Larry O’Brien; the Bucks, Celtics, Suns, and Nuggets.