For the Philadelphia 76ers, the problem with trading Ben Simmons this summer has been that his value is at its lowest following his offensive cratering in the Atlanta Hawks series, culminating with The Pass. As such, some of the better “realistic” options thrown around top out at not-quite-stars in the return package. The best hope for the Sixers was always a disgruntled star forcing his way out of another market. Well...
Source: Blazers star Damian Lillard to request trade in the days to come.— Henry Abbott (@TrueHoop) July 16, 2021
If this is a surprise, you haven't been paying attention. https://t.co/FS7KL1pPPm
In the report from TrueHoop’s Henry Abbott, he states a source close to Lillard indicates the Blazers star plans to request a trade in the days to come. The Sixers later merit a mention as a potential destination: “He’s the preferred teammate of half the league, and a constant presence in trade speculation from the 76ers, Knicks, Warriors, and beyond.”
Ever since the 2020-21 season ended for the Sixers, Damian Lillard has been seen as the dream scenario to reshape the roster alongside Joel Embiid. A top-10 player in his prime, Dame pairing with Joel would put Philadelphia on the short list of true title contenders over the next couple seasons. While it would hurt to part with Tyrese Maxey, Matisse Thybulle, or whatever else would need to be included alongside Simmons in a trade package, if you can partner Lillard and Embiid, you do it, and figure out the rest later.
Of course, Dame requesting a trade wouldn’t mean that his coming to Philadelphia is a fait accompli.
Trail Blazers superstar Damian Lillard has his eyes on the New York Knicks among trade destinations in the event he were to be dealt, per a source.— Grant Afseth (@GrantAfseth) July 16, 2021
In the coming weeks, I’m sure half the fan bases in the league are going to talk themselves into Lillard coming to town as a realistic possibility. However, the Sixers are in a unique position where they have an All-Star to send in return, other young assets to juice the offer, and the MVP runner-up on the roster to entice Dame with a realistic shot of winning it all. Even trying to separate any Philadelphia bias I might have, you have to include the Sixers on any short list for Lillard’s services.
I’m sure all things Damian Lillard will continue to be a hot topic of conversation in Sixers and NBA basketball circles throughout the summer. But Dame to Philly looks to be a small step closer to reality this morning, so I’ll allow everyone here a quick moment to savor the possibility. We’ll be sure to keep everyone apprised of any further future development.