The Milwaukee Bucks made a major move on Wednesday, orchestrating a three-team deal to acquire Portland Trail Blazers star, guard Damian Lillard.
The deal also involves the Phoenix Suns, who sent Deandre Ayton to the Blazers in the trade and received a package of role players from both teams. Lillard’s addition comes at a cost, as Jrue Holiday was sent to Portland in the deal.
The Bucks are trying to build the best roster possible to win a title this season, and beyond. Holiday has a player option on his deal for next season, but Lillard is under contract through at least the 2025-26 campaign.
This move shows star Giannis Antetokounmpo that the Bucks are serious about contending for years to come.
Oddsmakers are also buying the move, pushing the Bucks to the favorite in the NBA to win the title. The team was +500 to win the NBA Finals entering Wednesday, but that moved to +360 at FanDuel Sportsbook following the Lillard trade — moving the Bucks ahead of the Denver Nuggets.
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Milwaukee Bucks’ odds to win the NBA Finals this season
There’s no doubt that the Bucks are going to be one of the best teams in the NBA, as they already were projected to be before making the deal for Lillard.
Now, oddsmakers think the trio of Lillard, Giannis, and Khris Middleton is the best in the NBA, given the team’s current standing in the championship odds.
The Bucks won the NBA Finals in 2021, but they have dealt with injuries to key players — Middleton in 2022, and Antetokounmpo in 2023 — in the playoffs the last two seasons.
Adding a scorer of Lillard’s level should help the team mitigate any losses throughout the season. Last year, Lillard averaged 32.2 points and 7.3 assists per game while shooting 46.3 percent from the field and 37.1 percent from beyond the arc.
He certainly makes the Bucks a fun team to watch in the upcoming 2023-24 campaign.
Odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.