What does the Damian Lillard trade mean for the teams involved ands the Eastern Conference in the 2023-24 season? Who benefitted the most and where will Jrue Holiday be moved to?
Every NBA fan knows Damian Lillard requested a trade to the Miami Heat and ONLY SOUTH BEACH. Of course, he’s a member of the Milwaukee Bucks now.
I was hoping they’d send him to Canada to join the Raptors.
BRO, YOU GOT 4 YEARS LEFT ON YOUR DEAL…..BE THANKFUL IF YOU STAY IN THE U.S.
The Damian Lillard Trade Specifics
Here are the details on the trade.
- Bucks receive: Damian Lillard
- Blazers receive: Jrue Holiday, Deandre Ayton, Toumani Camara, Bucks’ 2029 first-round pick (unprotected), swap rights on Bucks’ 2028 and 2030 picks
- Suns receive: Jusuf Nurkic, Grayson Allen, Nassir Little and Keon Johnson
Dame to Bucks
I think a lot of people are going to realize just how valuable Jrue Holiday was to the Milwaukee Bucks. Other people it’ll fly straight over their heads.In the NBA playoffs, scoring isn’t the most important aspect to winning series’ and ultimately championship rings. It’s not 2nd either.
The top 2 aspects to winning rings are defense & ball protection, without them, how many points you score is irrelevant.
Jrue Holiday along with being clutch in the playoffs, he is better than Dame at protecting the ball and he’s a top tier defender too. Holiday’s career postseason assist-to-turnover ratio is 2.89.
His ratio during the 2021 Bucks championship run was 3.55. Jrue also was just named to his fifth All-Defensive team in 2023, it was also his 3rd First Team All-Defensive selection.
Dame Lillard is an awful defender and his career assist-to-turnover ratio is 2.36. For 2022-23, his ratio was 2.26 and in Lillard’s postseason career he has an embarrassing assist-to-turnover ratio of 1.99.
Don’t get it confused, his regular season ability to protect the ball is a liability and his defense is atrocious.
What Giannis wanted
I’m not convinced the Milwaukee Bucks made Giannis Antetokounmpo more likely to stay in Wisconsin when his player option comes up in the summer of 2025 (2 full seasons from now).
The Bucks with Jrue Holiday were a championship contender for the past few seasons and would’ve been moving forward.
What Giannis is worried about is the age of his teammates.
- Jrue Holiday – 33 yo – player option after 2023-24
- Khris Middleton – 32 yo – player option in summer of 2025
- Brooke Lopez – 35 yo – free-agent summer of 2025
Dame Lillard is 1 month & 3 days younger than Jrue. He’s signed for another 4 years, while Holiday has 1 year before his Player opt-in next summer.
But what’s more shocking is in 4 years, Dame Lillard will be almost 37 years old & making over $63 million.
- 2023-24 – $45,640,084 – 33 yo
- 2024-25 – $48,787,676 – 34 yo
- 2025-26 – $58,545,211 – 35 yo
- 2026-27 – $63,228,828 – 36 yo – player option
Anyone out there believe that Dame won’t opt into that $63.2 million?
The Bucks could live to regret this move.
Milwaukee was 8th in scoring for 2022-23 (PPG)
They were 14th in OPP PPG but 2nd in OPP FG%.
5th in point differential at +3.6.
If this trade backfires, it won’t be evident until the playoffs. I only showed these numbers because Milwaukee doesn’t have a scoring points problem.
It’s defense wasn’t always great though, even with 2 all-defensive selections.
Now you replace one with a turnover machine that can’t play any defense.
The Bucks may live to regret this trade. It might cause Giannis to look elsewhere in a couple seasons too. If a 35-year-old Dame Lillard begins declining, that $60 million per year isn’t going to be appealing to anybody.
Holiday For Harden
The Philadelphia 76ers or at least the fans & media want to see Jrue Holiday come back to the Sixers. As a fan I feel that would be absolutely wonderful.
The problem with this is if the Portland Trail Blazers don’t want Jrue Holiday, why would they take on James Harden? They wouldn’t. The only way for this to happen is if a third team to get involved.
That third team would have to want to give up young talent and draft picks in exchange for James Harden. So the young players and picks would go to Portland, Holiday to Philly and Harden to that other team.
The issues with Harden & Daryl Morey stem from the Sixers not giving him the 4-year max contract that James was seeking. No team is giving Harden this contract.
To do so, it’s a death sentence.
These teams know they will have a similar situation with Harden over a max extension. He can’t sign anything until next summer because he already opted into his current salary……but still.
76ers Payroll and the CBA
If the Sixers had given Harden what he wanted, that was it, the 76ers lose any opportunity to win with Joel Embiid in his prime. This would’ve meant that this Sixers team would be the Sixers team that would hit the court each of the next 4 seasons.
The only possible differences could be:
- Subtractions from the current roster
- Signing their own draft picks
- signing their current players under Bird Rights contracts
- signing veteran minimum contracts
With all that being said, I have to make sure it’s understood that the Sixers would be well above the 2nd tax apron with this too.
Making this a reality
- Can’t aggregate salaries in trades
- Lose your MLE (mid level exception)
- Teams can’t take back more salary than they send out
- Can’t trade draft picks 7 years in the future
- Can’t sign players on buyout market
- Can’t utilize cash in trades
By the Way, any team that’s above this 2nd tax line twice in a 4-year span automatically has their 1st round draft pick dropped to the end of the first round.
If you had the 3rd overall pick, now you have the last pick in the first round and every team behind you, they jump up one.
All the “Can’t Aggregate salaries in trades”,”can’t take back more than you send out”, “can’t utilize cash in trades”, it’s just a more complicated way of saying that you can’t make any trades.
Unless you can match salary dollar-for-dollar, without using more than one player to do it. So, pretty much no trades.
Without giving Harden more money, the Sixers team payroll is only $6,811,102 from that 2nd tax line today.
I’m completely convinced that whoever is running the Phoenix Suns organization, they don’t really have any idea about what they’re doing or what winning championship rings.
They made a mistake bringing in Bradley Beal, people that actually understand what makes NBA champions, they never even consider doing this. That trade is the trade that they should’ve brought in the depth with. There’s only one ball and as long as that continues to be a fact, this was stupid.
I said a couple months ago on Quora that the Suns weren’t serious title contenders because of a lack of overall depth, a lack of potential PG play, and a lack of overall defense.
I stated if they traded Deondre Ayton, they’d also introduce a lack of overall size and rebounding ability to their list of team liabilities. Whatever bad things can be said about Ayton, he’s still a center, at least 3 years from the start of his prime and averaging close to 20-10 (18.0 points-per-game, 10.0 rebounds).
So the Suns traded their size in the Damian Lillard trade.
“How could they not see Ayton isn’t a Shaq or Kareem. An Olajuwon or a Wilt. He doesn’t have the physical talent of a Dwight Howard either. WTF, NBA scouts, some of you are being influenced and not forming your own opinion”. “These evaluations are piss poor and if I was a GM I wouldn’t want these people working for me. Whatever they are watching and evaluating is the opposite of what people successful at the job – do & say“
However, given at how weak this team is with overall depth, I don’t think this was the worst thing because Phoenix got Nurkic back in the trade and a bit of depth.
Anything was better than what they had, I guess. Phoenix will get manhandled in five or a not close six games – as soon as they place a complete team with good talent in the playoffs.
I firmlt believe that the Blazers made out the best a team in their situation can. They weren’t a playoff team last season before the Damian Lillard trade but could be in 2023-24, if they weren’t shopping Jrue Holiday.
That being said, I agree with Portland in trading him because the assets for the future have the potential to increase this draft trade win for the franchise.
Not to mention, their top draft selection, Scoot Henderson was the third overall pick in the draft. The 6’2 point guard will be thrown into the fire but he played last season for the G-league Ignite team. Choosing the G-League over college.
As I write this, having a veteran like Jrue Holiday could be beneficial to learn from but I guess since Chauncey Billups is the head coach, ya know. It’s not quite the same thing since he’s not a player anymore.
I guess the Blazers want a very high draft pick but players like Deondre Ayton, Jerami Grant and Anfernee Simmons could have something to say about that.
I’m assuming the thought process is we couldn’t make the playoffs with Dame, so we won’t make them without him, especially if we move Jrue Holiday?
Damian Lillard might be an amazing shooter but he isn’t a good point guard or defender.