Damian Lillard will be tasked with helping the Milwaukee Bucks return to the top of the NBA after his trade from the Portland Trail Blazers.
Star guard Lillard signed for the Bucks on Wednesday in a three-way trade – which also included the Phoenix Suns – that saw Jrue Holiday, Deandre Ayton and Toumani Camara on the move too.
Lillard leaves Portland after 11 years with the Trail Blazers. He is a seven-time All-Star and enjoyed a career-best season in 2022-23, averaging 32.2 points and 7.3 assists, though he did sit out the final month of the season due to injury.
Now, the Bucks – the 2021 NBA Champions – will be hoping that Lillard can combine with two-time league MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo to push them towards another title, following a disappointing first-round exit at the hands of the Miami Heat in last season's playoffs.
Despite missing the last 10 games of the season, Lillard (1,866) was Portland's highest points scorer last term by over 500, with Anfernee Simons next best for the Trail Blazers with 1,306.
Lillard a difference-maker
"His character, competitiveness, talent and experience complement our group and gives us the best chance to win at the very highest level as we create new memories together," Bucks general manager Jon Horst said of Lillard.
So, does Lillard have what it takes to make the difference for the Bucks?
Lillard leaves Portland as a franchise great. He ranks first in team history in points and three-pointers and second in assists. Including the playoffs, he had 17 games with 50+ points for the Blazers. All other players in franchise history have only combined for seven 50-point games. He is a big-game player, and he should help ease the burden on Antetokounmpo.