The latest out of Portland comes from a report by The Athletic’s Shams Charania and Sam Amick. Together they took readers through a deep-dive of the firing of Blazers’ General Manager and President of Basketball Operations Neil Olshey and the future outlook of the franchise.
One topic they touched on is Lillard’s future relationship with the franchise. According to multiple sources, the rapper that plays basketball has his eyes set on which star he wants to bring to Portland:
Lillard intends to give the Trail Blazers organization time to find its next leader of basketball operations. But beyond the front office component, the face of the franchise still wants significant changes to the roster. Multiple sources have told The Athletic that Lillard would like to play with Philadelphia 76ers three-time All-Star Ben Simmons. The Trail Blazers’ league-worst defense would instantly improve, and sharing a backcourt with a non-shooter could work given Lillard’s high-volume usage.– Shams Charania & Sam Amick
Sixers fans have long dreamed of a trade sending Ben Simmons to the Blazers; in those dreams, however, they were sending Simmons not to join Simmons but in exchange for. While this doesn’t mean that there is no future path to a Damian Lillard deal, it’s not the news many in Philadelphia were hoping for when it became clear the Blazers are falling apart at the seams.
Suppose the Sixers decide it’s time to move Simmons, and they work with Portland to accomplish Lillard’s wants; what could a package look like? Well, Charania and Amick also discussed previous trade conversations between the Sixers and Blazers:
“Sources say the Trail Blazers, under Olshey, discussed the framework of a trade for Simmons, moving CJ McCollum, a first-round draft pick and a young player such as Nassir Little or Anfernee Simons to Philadelphia.”– Shams Charania & Sam Amick
If that’s where the Blazers were before, it stands to reason that they would offer even more now, considering how the season has progressed. A deal involving CJ McCollum, a young player (preferably Nassir Little), and now multiple first-round picks seems like a real possibility.
That likely is still not enough to entice Daryl Morey, though, as McCollum doesn’t put the Sixers over the edge, and the Sixers would be left looking to make another deal to ensure contender status. The Sixers are better off waiting for Lillard when it comes to a Blazers deal as, given the state of the team, Portland may not be too far off from imploding altogether.