The Damian Lillard trade saga hung over the NBA for months, in part freezing the market and slowing down transactions. The top remaining free agents waited as long as they could to sign new deals, waiting to see which teams would have open roster spots and opportunities. Teams waited to execute smaller trades, just in case they had a chance to better their return in the aftermath of a Lillard deal.
The wait is finally over, as Damian Lillard is now on the Milwaukee Bucks. The three-team trade that moved him to Wisconsin saw the Phoenix Suns win the “third-team” contest to join the Lillard deal, moving Deandre Ayton in exchange for a few different rotation players. The Cleveland Cavaliers have benefited from winning that contest in the past, including from the James Harden deal where Jarrett Allen landed in Cleveland.
Now that the dust has settled from the Lillard deal (and subsequent Jrue Holiday trade to Boston) the trade market may be ready to fire up again before the season kicks off. That could give the Cavaliers an angle to upgrade their rotation, diversifying depth on the wing.
Their trade partner? Those same Phoenix Suns, who just turned two players into four and may be interested in doing the reverse. Let’s look at a deal recently proposed between the two teams and see if it makes sense for either side. It’s time for another edition of “Grade the Trade”!