- Damian Lillard has been traded to the Milwaukee Bucks
- The move improved Milwaukee’s title odds to +390, best in the league
- Below, see the updated NBA champions odds for all 30 teams after the Lillard-to-Milwaukee deal
The NBA’s balance of power has been upset just weeks before the 2023-24 regular season is scheduled to begin. On Wednesday afternoon, the already-stacked Milwaukee Bucks traded for star point guard Damian Lillard from the Portland Trail Blazers
2024 NBA Championship Favorites
|Los Angeles Lakers||+1200|
|Golden State Warriors||+1300|
|Los Angeles Clippers||+1800|
|New York Knicks||+5000|
|New Orleans Pelicans||+5000|
|San Antonio Spurs||+20000|
|Portland Trail Blazers||+25000|
The Bucks are now +390 favorites in the NBA Championship odds, with the reigning-champion Denver Nuggets dropping to second at +475. The Boston Celtics reaming the third-favorite, but fell from +500 to +600 with the Eastern Conference now looking all the tougher.
Lillard Gives Giannis Legit Backcourt Superstar
The deal for Lillard fills the most-obvious hole on the Milwaukee roster. With Giannis Antetokounmpo and Brook Lopez dominating the frontcourt, and oft-injured Khris Middleton laboring in the backcourt, Lillard represents a perfect fit for the star-studded Bucks.
Oddsmakers agree. Milwaukee had been a +460 second-favorite to the reigning-champion Nuggets. Their move to +390 represents an increase in their implied win probability from 17.86% to 20.41%. It might not seem like a huge jump on paper, but it is. Indeed, it boosts their implied win probability 14.3% from where it stood before the trade.
The full deal involved three teams, including the Phoenix Suns. The Blazers obtained a solid return for Lillard, getting Jrue Holiday from the Bucks plus Deandre Ayton and rookie Toumani Camara from the Suns, along with Milwaukee’s 2029 first-round pick and pick-swap rights in both 2028 and 2030.
The deal makes a ton of sense for Milwaukee’s win-now mentality. Holiday, who had been running the point, would have been redundant with Lillard on the roster, while retaining their picks for the next six drafts ensures they won’t age too quickly.
Lillard’s Health Less Than Ideal, But Production as High as Ever
Lillard only managed to play 58 games for the also-ran Blazers this past season. He was shutdown in March due to “calf tightness”. But it’s unclear how much of that was to protect him as a trade asset.
Sources: The Portland Trail Blazers are leaning toward shutting down All-Star Damian Lillard for the season's final nine games. The franchise is seriously considering taking precautions as Lillard deals with calf injury and the team is 3.5 games out of Play-In Tournament race.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) March 25, 2023
His production last season was the best it’s ever been. He averaged a career-high 32.2 PPG along with 7.3 assists, 4.8 rebounds, and nearly one steal per game. The seven-time NBA All-Star and former All-NBA First Team selection just turned 33 in the summer and has two years left on his current contract. He carries a cap hit of $45.64 million this year and $48.79 next year.
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