We have yet to reach the full conclusion of the 2020-21 NBA season, as we only know one of the two teams matching up in the Finals. That, however, hasn’t stopped constant trade rumors circulating around the NBA over the past few weeks. Today we’ve been given yet another small Sixers tidbit into what will likely be a very busy offseason.
The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor recently put out a piece detailing the LA Clippers and the challenges that lie ahead for them after being eliminated by the Phoenix Suns. Within this piece he mentioned Ben Simmons — who has been a huge subject for mock trades — and the Clippers potentially being a landing spot, along with some other news surrounding superstar Damian Lillard:
“There’s also Ben Simmons, the Sixers All-Star who spends nearly all of his off time in Los Angeles and would add a much-needed playmaking dimension to the Clippers. But regardless of the other pieces involved in a potential deal, would Leonard want to team up with Simmons after the latter’s disastrous postseason? Is that a deal the Sixers would want to make, when league sources say they’re also hoping for an opportunity to land Lillard?”
I’ll briefly touch on the Clippers aspect of this quote, which is pretty interesting to say the least. First off: Ben Simmons and Kawhi Leonard would be an absolutely dominant perimeter defending duo. Seeing those two wreak havoc on the defensive end would be a real treat.
Coming back to reality, how this trade would work is pretty unclear. Shipping off Simmons for what would basically be Patrick Beverly, Marcus Morris, and some other player would be a pretty awful return on your 24 year-old All-Star. The only way that I could see the Clippers making a deal for Simmons would be trading away Paul George in the transaction, which is something I can’t see happening after his impressive postseason run. The Clippers have some intriguing players like the ones I listed above, but don’t own a draft pick for the foreseeable future — so that also rules out any possibility of them getting any draft compensation in a two-team deal.
The biggest takeaway from this quote is definitely the last sentence, where sources have said to O’Connor that the Sixers are interested in pursuing Damian Lillard — assuming he requests a trade. We’ve seen the national media mention that many teams are monitoring Portland’s situation and this is just another piece of evidence that the Sixers would be a huge bidder for Lillard.
The Sixers would have to part with one of Ben Simmons or Tobias Harris in a theoretical Lillard trade just to make the salary match. We’ve seen that the Sixers were willing to part ways with Simmons when James Harden became available earlier this year and it’s safe to predict that would be the case with Dame.
I’d expect that Lillard will wait and see what Portland does this offseason with some major decisions ahead. Can/will they trade away CJ McCollum and get a star upgrade to pair alongside Dame? Will they be willing to pay Norman Powell who will command a huge contract after a career season? These are just two questions of many that the Trail Blazers will face in the coming months, and that’s not even talking about the dumpster fire of a situation that has been their hiring of Chauncey Billups.
Keep a close eye on Portland, because the Sixers will definitely be doing the same. We will keep you updated with any and all trade rumors involving the team here at Liberty Ballers.