NBA fans and media members weren't the only ones taken aback by the news that the Portland Trail Blazers agreed to trade Damian Lillard to the Milwaukee Bucks Wednesday. Several NBA players were also shocked by the Blazers-Bucks trade, and they couldn't help but comment on the new pairing of Damian Lillard and Giannis Antetokounmpo.
CJ McCollum, Lillard's former teammate with the Blazers, expressed how happy he is for the point guard in a social media post. Now that Lillard has joined forces with Antetokounmpo and the Bucks, he almost certainly has his best chance to win a championship. Patrick Beverley, on the other hand, pointed out how much the Bucks would miss Jrue Holiday. The Bucks are trading Holiday as part of the deal, though he's expected to land somewhere other than Portland when the trade is finalized.
My 🐕 came up 🤝
— CJ McCollum (@CJMcCollum) September 27, 2023
Losing Jrue is Big. That’s all imma say
— Patrick Beverley (@patbev21) September 27, 2023
Folks gone pull up to Milwaukee and workout now!
— Evan Turner (@thekidet) September 27, 2023
Happy Wednesday, anything going on today?
— Alex Caruso (@ACFresh21) September 27, 2023
— Cameron Payne (@campayne) September 27, 2023
It's easy to see why so many players have reacted to the Lillard trade. The deal should have a sizeable effect on the championship picture. With Lillard, Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton on the same team, the Bucks are the new favorites to win the 2024 NBA Finals.
The Miami Heat were considered to be the heavy favorites to trade for Lillard. Had the Heat executed a trade with the Blazers, Miami might have the best odds to win the Eastern Conference. Now, the Heat could face an uphill battle in trying to get back to the Finals.
Lillard had made it clear that he wanted the Blazers to trade him to Miami. Now that he gets to play alongside one of the league's top superstars, it's expected that he'll have no trouble accepting the move to Milwaukee.