Milwaukee Bucks are accused of tampering to facilitate Damian Lillard deal as Miami Heat star Jimmy Butler points finger at Eastern Conference rivals: ‘Y’all didn’t hear it from me, but I heard it from somebody’

  • Butler accused the Bucks of having impermissible contact with Damian Lillard
  • Reports previously claimed Lillard demanded a trade to Butler’s Miami Heat 
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Did the Milwaukee Bucks have impermissible contact with Damian Lillard before agreeing to acquire the All-Star from the Portland Trail Blazers in a reported three-team deal on Wednesday?

Shortly after news of the trade was revealed by ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, Miami Heat guard Jimmy Butler made such an accusation on social media.

‘Yo NBA man, y’all need to look into the Bucks for tampering,’ he said in a self-shot video. ‘Y’all didn’t hear it from me, but I heard it from somebody.’

Butler is not an impartial witness and could be airing the grievance because he’s apparently missing out on a chance to play alongside Lillard.

Previously Lillard was reportedly trying to force Portland to trade him to Miami, where he would have joined the defending Eastern Conference Champions in a bid to win the franchise’s fourth NBA title.

Lillard (right) will be joining Giannis Antetokounmpo (left) on the Milwaukee Bucks

Jimmy Butler accused the rival Milwaukee Bucks of tampering after the Damian Lillard deal

Jimmy Butler accused the rival Milwaukee Bucks of tampering after the Damian Lillard deal

According to Wojnarowski, the Bucks are sending Jrue Holiday, a 2029 unprotected first-round pick and unprotected swap rights in 2028 and 2030 to the Blazers.

Phoenix is also reportedly sending Deandre Ayton and Toumani Camara to Portland, with Jusuf Nurkic, Grayson Allen, Nassir Little and Keon Johnson going to the Suns.

However, Wojnarowski has reported that the rebuilding Blazers are expected to ‘immediately engage contending teams’ in talks to move Holiday, who will turn 34 years old in June. 

If the trade is completed as is, with Holiday being sent to Portland, the Blazers will need to wait 60 days before trading him to another team, per the NBA’s collective-bargaining agreement. 

The news ends a drawn-out trade process for Lillard, who had spent all 11 years of his career in Portland before requesting a trade this summer.

Suns, Bucks and Blazers spokespeople did not immediately respond to’s request for confirmation. 

Bucks GM Jon Horst (left) alongside the team's first-year head coach, Adrian Griffin (right)

Bucks GM Jon Horst (left) alongside the team’s first-year head coach, Adrian Griffin (right)

Although league rules have prohibited tampering for decades, the NBA commissioner’s office has rededicated itself to cracking down on the practice since 2019.

As defined by the NBA, tampering involves any organization member, coach, player, executive or owner attempting to contact rival players in an effort to lure them to their own team.

Although Lillard was not a free agent, teams would still be guilty of tampering if they contacted him to persuade him to agree to a trade.

Penalties for tampering range from game suspensions for players to fines up to $10 million for team officials. Furthermore, clubs can have free-agent signings voided or lose draft picks if they’re found to have violated NBA tampering rules.