The Portland Trail Blazers have issued an official press release announcing the trade of franchise great Damian Lillard. The press release includes the first public statement about the trade from Blazers General Manager Joe Cronin.
Adrian Wojnarowski broke the monumental news this morning. Lillard was dealt to the Milwaukee Bucks in exchange for Jrue Holiday a 2029 first-round pick and the right to swap first-round picks in 2028 and 2030; Portland also traded Jusuf Nurkic, Nassir Little and Keon Johnson to the Phoenix Suns in exchange for Deandre Ayton and Toumani Camara.
In Cronin’s first public remarks after orchestrating the biggest deal of his career, the general manager did not talk about Portland’s incoming players or next steps. Instead, Cronin thanked Portland’s outgoing players for their contributions to the franchise, starting with Lillard.
Here’s Cronin’s full statement:
“On behalf of the entire Portland Trail Blazers Organization, I want to express my gratitude to Damian for 11 storied years with this franchise and for his loyalty to the Portland community. From becoming the all-time leading points scorer in franchise history to his dedicated commitment to youth across Oregon and the entire Pacific Northwest, Damian is and will remain a titan and a true trailblazer to this city.
“I would also like to thank Jusuf Nurkic for his devotion to Portland these last seven seasons. A consummate professional on and off the court, Nurk has been a key leader for this team, and we appreciate his dedication and passion for this franchise, the city, and the fans.
“Thank you to Keon Johnson and Nassir Little for their contributions to the Trail Blazers and Portland as well. We wish Dame, Nurk, Keon and Nas much success going forward.”
The press release goes on to list the career stats of each player during their time in Portland, with the largest paragraph reserved for Lillard who accumulated many accolades during his 11 seasons as a Blazer. The Blazers drafted Lillard with the No. 6 overall pick in the 2012 NBA Draft.
As Cronin mentioned above, Nurkic spent seven seasons in Portland as a core piece of the roster. The Blazers acquired the 7-foot center in a deal with the Denver Nuggets in February 2017.
Little, the No. 25 pick in the 2019 NBA draft, spent four seasons with the Blazers, while Johnson spent just over a season in Portland after the Blazers acquired the guard in a trade in February 2022.