ESPN suggests trade where Sixers land Damian Lillard without giving up Ben Simmons
The Ben Simmons saga doesn’t appear to be nearing a resolution anytime soon.
With Joel Embiid needing to exert every ounce of energy to beat fringe play-in teams, the Sixers need to figure out how to maximize the window of their franchise star.
Portland star Damian Lillard has been the center of trade discussions dating back to last season — and despite his reluctance to demand a trade, the cracks are starting to show within the organization.
According to recent reports, Lillard has interest in playing with defensive stars such as Jaylen Brown and Ben Simmons:
In the latest NBA Insider piece, ESPN’s Bobby Marks suggested a trade where Lillard gets his wish and finds his way to Philadelphia alongside Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid:
|Portland receives||Philadelphia Receives|
|Tobias Harris||Damian Lillard|
|Tyrese Maxey||Cody Zeller|
|2022 first-round pick (top-10 pick)|
“Although Simmons is still only 25 years old and is one of the top defenders in the league (plus still has four years left on his contract), the goal for Portland should be to retool the roster and not launch a full-scale rebuild centered around Simmons.
The mechanics of this trade would see Portland take Lillard’s $39.3 million salary and break it up into three quality starters who are on controllable contracts in Harris, Maxey and Thybulle. That would give Portland a quality young backcourt with Maxey, Thybulle and Norman Powell, allowing the Blazers to shift gears and also begin looking for a trade partner for CJ McCollum.”
Whether this trade would get Simmons to return to the team is another conversation, but an Embiid/Lillard pairing would instantly put Philly into Finals contention. Worst case scenario, the Sixers could still look to move Simmons to recover the depth lost in the Lillard trade.
Lillard’s numbers are down from last season — 24.1 points on 39.7% from the floor (30.2% from 3PT) and 7.8 assists. You can likely point to injuries and organizational dysfunction for the decline but don’t get it twisted — Lillard is still a premier scorer in this league.
Clutch triple after clutch triple in Dame Time…— NBA (@NBA) June 2, 2021
Damian Lillard pours in an #NBAPlayoffs record 12 threes en route to the first 55-point, 10-assist game in postseason history.
17-24 FGM | 12-17 3PM
Game 6: Thursday at 8pm/et on TNT pic.twitter.com/3jEroiaJUP
Mandatory Credit: ESPN