By 750 THE GAME STAFF
Once a trade is completed and we know the details. Grades need to happen. Even though we can’t properly grade a trade till years down the road. Grades are needed and fun to give out.
The Damian Lillard saga is over and Lillard is heading to Milwaukee to play with the Bucks. The Blazers got quite the haul back for Lillard.
Portland acquired Jrue Holiday, Deandre Ayton, Toumani Camara, a Milwaukee 2029 unprotected pick, and unprotected Milwaukee swap rights in 2028 and 2030. Here’s how ESPN graded the trade:
All along, I’ve felt that trading Lillard before the start of training camp was the right move for the Blazers. It’s easy to talk about waiting for the best possible deal in July, with little pressure to make a move. Urgency clearly set in for Portland as next Monday’s media day and the start of training camp approached.
The key caveat, of course, is that Portland has swapped one 33-year-old All-Star point guard for another. Holiday isn’t the kind of young talent a star trade would typically return, and without any ties to the Blazers or the kind of drawing power as Lillard, it seems inevitable Holiday will be traded again soon. Just how much Portland gets in return will determine how this deal compares to the possibility of sending Lillard to his desired destination, the Miami Heat.
The young talent the Blazers did add comes with baggage. The Suns’ willingness to part with Ayton, 25, without getting any above-average starters or any draft picks showcases just how eager Phoenix was to move on from the 2018 No. 1 pick. Ayton gets a fresh start in Portland at a position where the Blazers had no promising player on the timeline of the rest of their young core.
If Portland can get the kind of performance we saw from Ayton in the 2021 playoffs, when he averaged 15.8 points per game and 11.8 rebounds per game while helping the Suns to the NBA Finals, getting him at this low cost is a bargain.
Read all of ESPN’s grades by reading their article by clicking the link here.