Antetokounmpo broke his silence about the three-team trade on Thursday when speaking to Bleacher Report. The 2021 NBA champion admitted that it was gut-wrenching to lose his close teammate, but that he is excited to have Lillard join the team.
“It’s a bittersweet day for the city of Milwaukee,” Antetokounmpo told Chris Haynes. “You get Dame, who is a great player, but you lose a great guy. Jrue took us to the promised land. I’m 10 years in now. I know it’s a business. At the end of the day, Jrue will always be my brother for life. He’s one of the best human beings I’ve been around.
“But we’ve got to focus on the goal to win the championship. Dame wants this. He’s hungry to win, and he’s going to push us. I’m very happy to have him on our team.”
Antetokounmpo reportedly wasn’t aware of the Lillard trade ahead of the approval because Milwaukee general manager Jon Horst was afraid it’d would put too much on the two-time MVP because of his relationship with Holiday, per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
Throughout the offseason, Antetokounmpo has noted that winning a championship was his biggest goal this season as his future with the Bucks remains up in the air. But, if the Bucks could commit to winning, and show him that was the case, he’d feel better staying with the franchise long-term.
With Lillard now coming into the fold, it seems the Milwaukee front office wanted to do exactly that.