North Star News

Niles North High School | Skokie, IL

North Star News

Niles North High School | Skokie, IL

North Star News

Eastern Conference Shakeup: Lillard to the Bucks and Holiday to the Celtics


A little less than 3 weeks away from the NBA’s 2023-2024 season opener, this offseason’s final and biggest wave of trades has hit the NBA, changing the landscape of the league. On Sep 27, after a long few months of negotiations and theatrics, Damian Lillard’s trade request from the Trailblazers was granted, but not to the Miami Heat where he’d been trying to force himself to. In a blockbuster trade, Lillard was traded to the Milwaukee Bucks.

It’s one of the scariest looking duos we’ve seen in years, a double-edged sword of elite perimeter and inside offense. They’re not top heavy either, with a strong supporting cast and depth that are often lacking with most superteams. It’s not what he asked for, but Damian Lillard can’t complain. It is a team that had the best record in the league last year, only now enhanced. But there’s a cost.

In a three team deal with the Trailblazers and the Suns, Milwaukee Bucks gave up assets including Grayson Allen, a 2029 first-round-pick, two pick swaps in 2028 and 2030. But most importantly, they gave up Jrue Holiday to the Portland Trailblazers, one of the best two-way guards in the league and a key piece of the Bucks 2021 NBA championship and any of their other successes since. It’s a gutting loss to their culture and playstyle, the Bucks sold their soul for Lillard, and it’s unclear if it’ll pay off or not at the end of the day.

On paper the Bucks have improved, but they’ve lost their heart and soul. Anyway, if the Nuggets championship win and all the failed superteams over the past couple years tell us anything, starpower isn’t everything, especially when you’re a proven championship-level team like the Bucks were. It was reported Giannis wasn’t informed nor consulted about the trade ahead of time. Whether that is true or fabricated to uphold Giannis’s humble anti-superteam brand is uncertain. Although Giannis is surely excited to play with Lillard, if that report is true, it doesn’t set the right precedent for the team and would create some internal problems, especially since Holiday has been outspoken about feeling blindsided. It’s a messy trade, just hours before Holiday had said he wanted to be a Buck for life.

To thicken the plot, Holiday was then traded from the Trailblazers to the Bucks’ conference rivals the Boston Celtics, in what will make for a terrific storyline to look forward to this season.  After the Lillard trade, the Bucks had the best looking roster in the Eastern Conference, but the Celtics hijacked it only a few days later. While the Celtics have similarly lost a lot of their heart this offseason with the trading away of Marcus Smart, Rob Williams, Grant Williams, Malcolm Brogdon, and more, the acquisitions of Kristaps Porzingis and Jrue Holiday alongside superstar duo Jayson Tatum and Jayeln Brown is a force to be reckoned with on both sides of the court. 

The two heads of the Eastern Conference, the Milwaukee Bucks and Boston Celtics, are in an arms race of talent. This upcoming season looks to be one of the most exciting and fresh in years. The NBA season opens on October 24, and the Bucks and Celtics first face off on November 22, and likely the playoffs as well. New beginnings are ahead for Jrue Holiday and Damian Lillard

Leave a Comment
More to Discover
About the Contributor
Sam Dababneh
Sam Dababneh, Review Editor & Asst. Sports Editor
Sam Dababneh is a Sophmore at Niles North High school. This is his second year on North Star News.

Comments (0)

All North Star News Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *