The Portland Trail Blazers have acquired center Deandre Ayton and forward Toumani Camara from the Phoenix Suns in exchange for guard Keon Johnson, forward Nassir Little and center Jusuf Nurkic, the team announced today. Additionally, Portland acquired Jrue Holiday, a 2029 first round pick and the right to swap first round picks in 2028 and 2030 from the Milwaukee Bucks in exchange for guard Damian Lillard. Milwaukee also sends guard Grayson Allen to Phoenix.
“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,” said General Manager Joe Cronin. “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,” said Cronin. “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,” added Cronin. “We wish Dame, Nurk, Keon and Nas much success going forward.”
During the 2022-23 season, Ayton averaged 18.0 points (58.9% FG, 29.2% 3-PT, 76.0% FT), 10.0 rebounds, 1.7 assists, 0.6 steals, 0.8 blocks in 30.4 minutes per game in 67 games (all starts). Originally selected with the first overall pick in the 2018 NBA draft, Ayton holds career averages of 16.7 points (59.7% FG, 26.3% 3-PT, 25.5% FT), 10.4 rebounds, 1.6 assists, 0.7 steals, 1.0 blocks in 30.6 minutes per game in 303 games (296 starts) in his five seasons with Phoenix.
Holiday averaged 19.3 points (47.9% FG, 38.4% 3-PT, 85.9% FT), 5.1 rebounds, 7.4 assists, 1.2 steals, 0.4 blocks in 32.6 minutes per game in 67 games (65 starts) during the 2022-23 season with Milwaukee. The 14-year veteran guard holds career averages of 16.4 points (46.2% FG, 36.6% 3-PT, 78.3% FT), 4.1 rebounds, 6.5 assists, 1.5 steals, 0.5 blocks, 33.1 minutes per game in 906 games (825) starts.
Camara (too-MAH-nee cah-MAH-rah) was drafted as the No. 52 overall pick in this year’s 2023 NBA Draft. The rookie forward played 125 games (106 starts) in four seasons at Dayton (2021-23) and Georgia (2019-21) and accrued averages of 11.0 points (51.3% FG, 30.7% 3-PF, 63.1%FT), 6.9 rebounds, 1.4 assists, 1.0 steals, 0.8 blocks in 27.3 minutes per game.
Lillard was drafted by the Trail Blazers out of Weber State with the No. 6 overall pick in the 2012 NBA Draft. He appeared in 769 games (all starts) over 11 seasons in Portland, accruing career averages of 25.2 points (43.9% FG, 37.2% 3-PT, 89.5% FT), 4.2 rebounds, 6.7 assists and 1.0 steals in 36.3 minutes per game. Among all-time franchise leaders, he ranks first in points (19,376), points per game (25.2), three-pointers (2,387), free throws (4,427) and free throw percentage (89.5%), second in field goals (6,281) and assists (5,151), third in games played (769) and minutes per game (36.3), fourth in assists per game (6.7), and sixth in triple-doubles (3 – tied) and steals (732). During his time with Portland, Lillard was a seven-time NBA All-Star, an All-NBA First Team (2018), Second Team (2021, 2020, 2019, 2016) and Third Team (2023, 2014) selection, a member of the NBA’s 75th Anniversary Team, the 2021 NBA Teammate of the Year, the 2013 NBA Rookie of the Year, and an NBA All-Rookie First Team selection (2013). The Trail Blazers made the playoffs in eight of Lillard’s seasons in Portland, advancing to the Western Conference Finals in 2019 and the Western Conference Semifinals in 2016 and 2014. Lillard also won a Gold Medal with the United States Men’s National Team at the 2021 Olympic Games in Tokyo.
Nurkic spent the past seven seasons in Portland, where he averaged 14.4 points (51.3% FG, 29.8% 3-PT, 69.3% FT), 9.8 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 1.0 steals and 1.2 blocks in 27.0 minutes per game. He was originally drafted by the Chicago Bulls with the No. 16 pick in the 2014 NBA Draft and traded to Denver on Draft night. In 463 games (382 starts) with Portland and Denver, he holds career averages of 12.3 points (50.2% FG, 29.2% 3-PT, 67.1% FT), 8.6 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.2 blocks in 24.2 minutes per game. The Bosnia native ranks fourth in rebounds per game (9.8) and 10th in total rebounds (2,280) in Trail Blazers franchise history.
The Trail Blazers originally acquired Johnson from the LA Clippers on February 4, 2022. Over two seasons with Portland and the LA Clippers, Johnson has accrued career averages of 5.9 points (36.2% FG, 34.3% 3-PT, 73.9% FT), 1.6 rebounds, 1.8 assists and 0.60 steals and 14.4 minutes per game in 77 games (12 starts). He appeared in 40 games with Portland last season, averaging 4.7 points (37.6% FG, 34.6% 3-PT, 65.9% FT), 1.1 rebounds and 1.5 assists in 10 minutes per game.
Selected 25th overall in the 2019 NBA Draft by the Trail Blazers, Little has appeared in 192 games (34 starts) in Portland and holds career averages of 6.0 points (45.1% FG, 33.5% 3-PT, 72.5% FT), 3.2 rebounds, 0.8 assists and 0.4 blocks in 17.1 minutes per game. Last season, the former North Carolina standout averaged 6.6 points (44.2% FG, 36.7% 3-PT, 71.7% FT), 2.6 rebounds and 0.9 assists and 18 minutes per game in 54 games (four starts) with Portland.