Bucks Trade Proposal Ditches Damian Lillard for $120 Million Milwaukee Native

Bucks star Damian Lillard

Getty Bucks star Damian Lillard

Around the NBA, there probably is not much of an appetite for a long, drawn-out offseason that is dominated by discussions of the Miami Heat dealing for Damian Lillard. But it’s entirely possible that we will see just that this summer as the Bucks could look to reconfigure following what has been a bizarrely disappointing regular season.

No doubt, the Bucks could pick things up in the playoffs.  They probably did themselves a favor by slipping to No. 3 in the standings on Sunday, forcing a matchup against the No. 6 seeded Pacers, a team decidedly lacking in playoff experience. That avoids the Heat or Sixers in the first round.

But with Giannis Antetokounmpo still uncertain because of his calf injury, nothing is a given in the coming weeks.

If the Bucks slip out of the playoffs again in the first round, even with the injury caveat, the team could need some big changes. And there is some sentiment that the change could start with a Lillard trade.

Damian Lillard Trade Was a Flop This Year

Lillard has averaged 24.3 points, 7.0 assists and 4.4 rebounds in Milwaukee following his trade from Portland, and earned an All-Star spot, but he has shot just 42.4% from the field and the Bucks have dropped from 58 wins to 49.

Lillard is known for his defensive shortcomings, and he’s taken much of the blame for the Bucks falling to 19th in the NBA in defense this year, allowing 115.0 points per 100 possessions. The Bucks were No. 4 at 110.9 last year.

At the Miami Heat site All U Can Heat, Wes Goldberg—who is the host of the “Locked on Heat” podcast—raised the possibility of Lillard again being pursued by the Heat in trade possibilities. Only this time, Miami would be dealing with the Bucks after having developed a frosty relationship with the Blazers last year.

Wrote Goldberg: “Perhaps the Bucks could be persuaded into trading Lillard to build a slightly younger, more complete roster around Giannis Antetokounmpo (who will be 30 next season) to help extend his championship window.

“If the Bucks were to field offers for Lillard, it’s doubtful they would get the same return the Trail Blazers got a year ago. Lillard is still an All-Star, high-octane scorer and feared floor spacer, but at 33 he’s showing some decline.”

Bucks-Heat Trade Would Yield Tyler Herro

Now, there will not be that many teams lined up to take on Lillard, not for a guy who turns 34 this summer and is scheduled to make $163 million over the next three seasons. But the Heat had interest before, and that could be re-ignited.

What would that look like for the Bucks? Perhaps this …

Bucks receive: Tyler Herro, Terry Rozier, Nikola Jovic, protected future first-rounder

Heat receive: Damian Lillard, salary filler

Milwaukee would have to be sold on the oft-injured, Milwaukee-born Tyler Herro, who was the rumored centerpiece of a Miami package for Lillard last summer. Herro will be entering the second year of a four-year, $120 million contract.

There’s also the prospect of paying Rozier $51 million over the next two years. But Jovic is a budding prospect who is averaging 7.7 points, 4.2 rebounds and 2.0 assists in 19.5 minutes, shooting 39.9% from the 3-point line.

Bucks fans will surely remember his 24-point, seven-rebound showing in Milwaukee in February.

It’s possible, too, that the package could be adjusted to swap out Rozier for shooter Duncan Robinson, who has struggled with injuries lately but has averaged 12.9 points and shot 39.5% from the 3-point line this year, revitalizing his career.

The package is not quite on the level of what the Bucks gave up for Lillard in the first place, but it does replace a first-round pick and give Milwaukee the opportunity to reset after what was a pretty clear mistake on Lillard.

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