Damian Lillard traded to Bucks in three-team NBA deal

The Portland Trail Blazers have acquired center Deandre Ayton and forward Toumani Camara from the Phoenix Suns in exchange for guard Keon Johnson, forward Nassir Little and center Jusuf Nurkic, the team announced today. Additionally, Portland acquired Jrue Holiday, a 2029 first round pick and the right to swap first round picks in 2028 and 2030 from the Milwaukee Bucks in exchange for guard Damian Lillard. Milwaukee also sends guard Grayson Allen to Phoenix.

“On behalf of the entire Portland Trail Blazers Organization, I want to express my gratitude to Damian for 11 storied years with this franchise and for his loyalty to the Portland community,” said General Manager Joe Cronin. “From becoming the all-time leading points scorer in franchise history to his dedicated commitment to youth across Oregon and the entire Pacific Northwest, Damian is and will remain a titan and a true trailblazer to this city.”

“I would also like to thank Jusuf Nurkic for his devotion to Portland these last seven seasons,” said Cronin. “A consummate professional on and off the court, Nurk has been a key leader for this team, and we appreciate his dedication and passion for this franchise, the city, and the fans.”

“Thank you to Keon Johnson and Nassir Little for their contributions to the Trail Blazers and Portland as well,” added Cronin. “We wish Dame, Nurk, Keon and Nas much success going forward.”

During the 2022-23 season, Ayton averaged 18.0 points (58.9% FG, 29.2% 3-PT, 76.0% FT), 10.0 rebounds, 1.7 assists, 0.6 steals, 0.8 blocks in 30.4 minutes per game in 67 games (all starts). Originally selected with the first overall pick in the 2018 NBA draft, Ayton holds career averages of 16.7 points (59.7% FG, 26.3% 3-PT, 25.5% FT), 10.4 rebounds, 1.6 assists, 0.7 steals, 1.0 blocks in 30.6 minutes per game in 303 games (296 starts) in his five seasons with Phoenix.

Holiday averaged 19.3 points (47.9% FG, 38.4% 3-PT, 85.9% FT), 5.1 rebounds, 7.4 assists, 1.2 steals, 0.4 blocks in 32.6 minutes per game in 67 games (65 starts) during the 2022-23 season with Milwaukee. The 14-year veteran guard holds career averages of 16.4 points (46.2% FG, 36.6% 3-PT, 78.3% FT), 4.1 rebounds, 6.5 assists, 1.5 steals, 0.5 blocks, 33.1 minutes per game in 906 games (825) starts.

Camara (too-MAH-nee cah-MAH-rah) was drafted as the No. 52 overall pick in this year’s 2023 NBA Draft. The rookie forward played 125 games (106 starts) in four seasons at Dayton (2021-23) and Georgia (2019-21) and accrued averages of 11.0 points (51.3% FG, 30.7% 3-PF, 63.1%FT), 6.9 rebounds, 1.4 assists, 1.0 steals, 0.8 blocks in 27.3 minutes per game.

Lillard was drafted by the Trail Blazers out of Weber State with the No. 6 overall pick in the 2012 NBA Draft. He appeared in 769 games (all starts) over 11 seasons in Portland, accruing career averages of 25.2 points (43.9% FG, 37.2% 3-PT, 89.5% FT), 4.2 rebounds, 6.7 assists and 1.0 steals in 36.3 minutes per game. Among all-time franchise leaders, he ranks first in points (19,376), points per game (25.2), three-pointers (2,387), free throws (4,427) and free throw percentage (89.5%), second in field goals (6,281) and assists (5,151), third in games played (769) and minutes per game (36.3), fourth in assists per game (6.7), and sixth in triple-doubles (3 – tied) and steals (732). During his time with Portland, Lillard was a seven-time NBA All-Star, an All-NBA First Team (2018), Second Team (2021, 2020, 2019, 2016) and Third Team (2023, 2014) selection, a member of the NBA’s 75th Anniversary Team, the 2021 NBA Teammate of the Year, the 2013 NBA Rookie of the Year, and an NBA All-Rookie First Team selection (2013). The Trail Blazers made the playoffs in eight of Lillard’s seasons in Portland, advancing to the Western Conference Finals in 2019 and the Western Conference Semifinals in 2016 and 2014. Lillard also won a Gold Medal with the United States Men’s National Team at the 2021 Olympic Games in Tokyo.

Nurkic spent the past seven seasons in Portland, where he averaged 14.4 points (51.3% FG, 29.8% 3-PT, 69.3% FT), 9.8 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 1.0 steals and 1.2 blocks in 27.0 minutes per game. He was originally drafted by the Chicago Bulls with the No. 16 pick in the 2014 NBA Draft and traded to Denver on Draft night. In 463 games (382 starts) with Portland and Denver, he holds career averages of 12.3 points (50.2% FG, 29.2% 3-PT, 67.1% FT), 8.6 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.2 blocks in 24.2 minutes per game. The Bosnia native ranks fourth in rebounds per game (9.8) and 10th in total rebounds (2,280) in Trail Blazers franchise history.

The Trail Blazers originally acquired Johnson from the LA Clippers on February 4, 2022. Over two seasons with Portland and the LA Clippers, Johnson has accrued career averages of 5.9 points (36.2% FG, 34.3% 3-PT, 73.9% FT), 1.6 rebounds, 1.8 assists and 0.60 steals and 14.4 minutes per game in 77 games (12 starts). He appeared in 40 games with Portland last season, averaging 4.7 points (37.6% FG, 34.6% 3-PT, 65.9% FT), 1.1 rebounds and 1.5 assists in 10 minutes per game.

Selected 25th overall in the 2019 NBA Draft by the Trail Blazers, Little has appeared in 192 games (34 starts) in Portland and holds career averages of 6.0 points (45.1% FG, 33.5% 3-PT, 72.5% FT), 3.2 rebounds, 0.8 assists and 0.4 blocks in 17.1 minutes per game. Last season, the former North Carolina standout averaged 6.6 points (44.2% FG, 36.7% 3-PT, 71.7% FT), 2.6 rebounds and 0.9 assists and 18 minutes per game in 54 games (four starts) with Portland.

Bucks sign TyTy Washington Jr. to Two-Way contract

The Milwaukee Bucks have signed TyTy Washington Jr. to a Two-Way contract.

A 6-3 guard, Washington Jr. appeared in 31 games (2 starts) as a rookie with the Houston Rockets last season and averaged 4.7 points, 1.5 rebounds and 1.5 assists in 14.0 minutes per game. The 21-year-old also played in 18 games (all starts) with the Rockets’ G League affiliate, the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, last season and averaged 23.1 points, 6.0 assists, 4.6 rebounds and 1.4 steals in 34.7 minutes per game.

Originally selected by the Memphis Grizzlies with the 29th overall pick in the 2022 NBA Draft out of Kentucky, Washington Jr. earned Second Team All-SEC and SEC All-Freshman Team honors following his lone season with the Wildcats in 2021-22. As a freshman, the Phoenix native saw action in 31 games, making 29 starts, and averaged 12.5 points, 3.9 assists, 3.5 rebounds and 1.3 steals.

Bucks re-sign Thanasis Antetokounmpo

The Milwaukee Bucks on Friday, July 28 re-signed forward Thanasis Antetokounmpo.

Antetokounmpo appeared in 37 games last season, his fourth campaign with the Bucks where he’s appeared in 162 games (11 starts) over that span.

Originally drafted by New York with the 51st overall selection in the 2014 NBA Draft, Antetokounmpo appeared in two games for the Knicks during the 2015-16 season. He signed with Milwaukee prior the 2019-20 season after playing three seasons (Spain, 2016-17; Greece, 2017-19) overseas.

Bucks re-sign Jae Crowder

The Milwaukee Bucks have re-signed forward Jae Crowder.

Acquired by the Bucks last season as part of a four-team trade on Feb. 9, Crowder appeared in 18 games (3 starts) with Milwaukee during the 2022-23 season and averaged 6.9 points, 3.8 rebounds and 1.5 assists in 18.9 minutes per game. The Marquette product also shot 47.9% from the field, 43.6% from three and 83.3% from the free-throw line.

Bucks to re-sign Brook Lopez

Per ESPN.com:

According to a source who spoke to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, free agency center Brook Lopez has signed a two-year, $48 million contract with the Milwaukee Bucks.

This offseason, the Bucks were successful in keeping both Lopez and star guard Khris Middleton, retaining the foundation of the team that won the title in 2021, led by two-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo. Houston had a strong interest in re-signing Lopez, but Milwaukee was able to fend them off.


Bucks forward Khris Middleton reportedly had knee surgery after playoffs

Via the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

Three-time all-star Khris Middleton had a procedure on his right knee shortly after the Milwaukee Bucks’ season ended, league sources told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

He is expected to begin court work in July.

It is the same knee he suffered a torn meniscus in during his junior year at Texas A&M in the fall of 2011, which forced him to miss two months of action and ultimately played a role in falling to Detroit in the second round of the 2012 draft.

Milwaukee Bucks hire Adrian Griffin as their new head coach

The Milwaukee Bucks yesterday hired Adrian Griffin as their new head coach.

Griffin, who becomes the 17th head coach in franchise history, brings 15 seasons of NBA coaching experience to the Bucks, most recently spending the last five seasons as an assistant coach with the Toronto Raptors.

“Adrian is a widely-respected coach and former player, who brings great leadership and experience to our team,” said Bucks general manager Jon Horst. “His championship-level coaching pedigree, character, basketball acumen and ability to connect with and develop players make him the ideal choice to lead our team. He has earned this opportunity.”

“I’m incredibly honored and grateful to Wes, Jamie, Dee, Jimmy and Jon to be named the head coach of the Milwaukee Bucks,” said Griffin. “The Bucks are a championship organization and I’m thrilled to work with an established roster of high character and talented players. I’m excited to be back in Milwaukee and I can’t wait to get started.”

“Adrian is well-regarded throughout the NBA, and we believe that his vast experience working under and playing for successful head coaches makes him the right person to guide our team in competing for championships,” said Bucks co-owners Wes Edens, Jamie Dinan and Dee and Jimmy Haslam. “Following a widespread coaching search, we are extremely impressed by Adrian’s leadership and communication skills and welcome him to the Bucks family.”

New Milwaukee Bucks head coach will reportedly be Adrian Griffin

Via the Toronto Star:

Adrian Griffin is finally getting a shot to run his own show.

NBA sources confirm that Griffin, the former Raptors assistant, is poised to become the head coach of the Milwaukee Bucks.

The 48-year-old Griffin had been with the Raptors since 2018 and served as the stand-in head coach whenever Nick Nurse had to miss a game.


Milwaukee Bucks fire head coach Mike Budenholzer

The Milwaukee Bucks have parted ways with head coach Mike Budenholzer.

Per the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, “Budenholzer, hired before the 2018-19 season, oversaw one of the most successful five-year runs in the history of the franchise during which the team went 271-120 (69.3%) in the regular season under his leadership.”

“The decision to make this change was very difficult,” said Bucks general manager Jon Horst. “Bud helped lead our team for five incredible seasons, to the Bucks’ first title in 50 years, and into an era of sustained success. We are grateful for the culture of winning and leadership that Bud helped create in Milwaukee.

“This is an opportunity for us to refocus and reenergize our efforts as we continue building toward our next championship season.”

More from the Journal Sentinel: “Budenholzer was named the NBA coach of the year after the Bucks won 60 games in 2018-19 and they followed that up with a 56-win season in the pandemic-shortened 2019-20 campaign.”