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Grading Bucks-Trail Blazers-Suns deal centered around Damian Lillard, Jrue Holiday

Milwaukee lands the star point guard from Portland with help from Phoenix.

Milwaukee Bucks v Portland Trail Blazers
Damian Lillard of the Portland Trail Blazers dribbles the ball against the Milwaukee Bucks on February 6, 2023 at the Moda Center Arena in Portland, Oregon.
Photo by Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images

The Milwaukee Bucks, Portland Trail Blazers and Phoenix Suns completed a three-team deal Wednesday which sent star point guard Damian Lillard to Milwaukee, teaming him with Giannis Antetokounmpo. The Blazers added Jrue Holiday and Deandre Ayton, along with draft picks, while the Suns get Jusuf Nurkic and Grayson Allen.

Here’s a look at how the trade shakes out for each team.

Bucks: A

There’s been some rumblings about Antetokounmpo’s future in Milwaukee, but this should quiet that noise. Lillard gives the Bucks a huge upgrade at the point guard position and a true second star, something they clearly needed in the playoffs if anything were to happen to the Greek Freak. Not giving up Khris Middleton is big, and keeping Brook Lopez and Bobby Portis is also important. The first-round picks down the line are largely irrelevant for Milwaukee, who is in championship mode.

Trail Blazers: B+

Holiday is an excellent point guard, and Ayton could be a great complimentary player to Scoot Henderson in the long-term plan. Jerami Grant also fits well with Ayton, and the first-round picks could pay off nicely. The team doesn’t exactly do right by Lillard in terms of where he wants to go, but he does go to a contender. Getting off Nurkic’s salary helps but the Blazers basically have to hope Ayton pans out. Based on last year’s playoffs, that seems risky.

Suns: B+

Adding Allen and Little to help fill out the bench is a nice get for the Suns, who were clearly on the wrong side of Ayton despite signing him to a big deal. Nurkic is going to be a sore spot for Phoenix in the postseason but it’s not going to matter if Kevin Durant, Bradley Beal and Devin Booker click. The Suns got some viable depth pieces, but likely could’ve gotten some draft picks out of this deal if they pushed for it.