Before the Trail Blazers traded Damian Lillard to the Bucks on Wednesday, Giannis Antetokounmpo already knew the star player he wanted to play with ahead of the 2023-24 NBA season.

Antetokounmpo seemingly spoke Wednesday’s bombshell trade into existence a few months ago at a Fresno, Calif., barbershop, according to Bleacher Report’s Chris Haynes. The two-time NBA MVP stated if there was one player he could play alongside in Milwaukee, it would be Lillard.

Wednesday’s news comes after Antetokounmpo’s future and loyalty to the Bucks has been in question. Nearly two weeks ago, the seven-time All-Star appeared on the 48 minutes podcast and shared that he saw himself as a “Milwaukee Buck” so long as the franchise demonstrated a commitment to winning.

“As long as we play and we approach the game every single day the right way and we all sacrifice for the common goal, I can see myself being a Milwaukee Buck for the rest of my career,” Antetokounmpo said on the podcast. “But the moment I feel people are not as committed as I am to get that golden thing [NBA title] in the back, I am not.

"I want to win. I have to do whatever it takes for me to win and if there’s a better situation for me to win the Larry O’Brien [Trophy], I have to take that better situation.” 

It appears that Milwaukee listened to its star. Lillard is part of a three-team deal in which the Blazers will receive Deandre Ayton, Toumani Camara from the Suns and Jrue Holliday, a 2029 first rounder and picks swaps in ‘28 and ’30 with the Bucks.

The Suns will receive Jusuf Nurkic, Keon Johnson and Nassir Little from the Trail Blazers and Grayson Allen from the Bucks.