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Windhorst: If Sixers offered Maxey ‘Dame Lillard might be in Philly right now, but they are not.’

Brian Windhorst jumped on SportsCenter and talked about the market for Portland Trailblazers’ star Damian Lillard and how Sixers’ Tyrese Maxey might be the “prime piece” of any potential offer.

Philadelphia 76ers v Portland Trail Blazers Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images

The Philadelphia 76ers made headlines over the weekend when they were named as one of the three suitors for Damian Lillard, along with the Miami Heat and L.A. Clippers, according to ESPN Insider Adrian Wojnarowski.

If you’re Daryl Morey, you really cannot in good faith make any calls to the Blazers about their All-NBA guard if you’re not prepared to make a real offer. And assuming Joel Embiid isn’t on the table, then any real offer would have to include Tyrese Maxey, the 76ers’ best asset for a rebuilding team.

So simply hearing the Sixers named in that Woj bomb certainly raises the eye-brows.

ESPN’s Brian Windhorst has sent Sixers nation into a frenzy lately. First (above) he suggested they may trade Maxey, then he seemed to walk that alllll the way back (at the insistence of the team):

Finally, he hopped on SportsCenter to address his (eye-rolling) comments that Maxey is completely untouchable.

Per Windhorst:

“I think of the available pieces that you see out there on the board, that could be offered for Dame Lillard, I think Maxey is the prime piece. And again, if Philadelphia was making that offer, Dame Lillard might be in Philly right now, but they are not.”

So who are those available pieces out there on the board? Tyler Herro is one, but we’ve heard rumors that Portland isn’t terribly interested in Miami’s shooting guard. We heard rumors that the Clippers wanted to trade Paul George for the No. 3 pick on Draft Night but Portland, seemingly intent on a true reset, wasn’t interested.

The Blazers have Anfernee Simons, Shaedon Sharpe and Scoot Henderson there in a now crowded guard rotation. Do Windy’s comments suggest the Blazers are in love with Maxey anyway?

Do they suggest that if the Sixers traded Maxey for multiple draft picks, Morey could reroute that bundle to the Blazers? If true, should the Sixers be jumping on this hypothetical deal landing Dame, simultaneously thwarting the Heat from forming their own super team?

There is a lot to consider. Maxey is still just 22 years old. Dame is ten years older.

Last Saturday, when we got news Lillard finally made a trade request and Philadelphia was among suitors, Kyle Neubeck of PhillyVoice tweeted “it looks like ‘grand opening, grand closing’ for the Sixers on the Damian Lillard front. But let’s discuss his future trade out of Portland anyway.”

In that report, Neubeck revealed:

“The Sixers, sources say, are operating under that same “Lillard wants Miami” belief that everyone else is working under. It is why their likelihood of acquiring him was characterized as low, as we reported on Friday, but no one was comfortable completely ruling them out.”

So if you’re piecing things together, it sounds like the Sixers might be trying to dip their toes in the water with Portland verrrrry delicately. They don’t want to dangle Maxey’s name only to be swiftly rejected, alienating their budding star. But if suddenly Portland was open to working with the Sixers, then maybe, maybe they actually would pull the trigger on trading the 22-year-old?

I’m not sure how it would look. Maybe Maxey would go to a team like the Utah Jazz, with a bunch of their picks and Tobias Harris heading Portland’s way, and Dame to Philly? Maybe Harden would land on the Clippers with Dame and a couple of Clippers role players coming here?

It might be tricky, but it’s doable if all parties were on board.

As much as it would make many Sixers fans cry to see Maxey go, Lillard is so great that he could take the pressure off Joel Embiid as the team’s crunch time closer.

We’ve thus far heard Lillard, set to turn 33 this month, wants to be in Miami, the Sixers are not on his list, and that some teams are put off by his apparent focus on one franchise. Lillard is under contract for another three seasons before he has a player option come summer 2026.

The Harden situation makes it all the more fascinating. Who would go in terms of salary cap filler — would it be Tobias Harris or James Harden? Would Harden change his mind about wanting a trade if Dame was on the way? Would the team be more likely to trade Harden for a few role players if they had a new point guard?

Anyway, there’s a lot for Daryl Morey to think about. But for now, if you believe Windy’s speculation, the team might be able to acquire Dame D.O.L.L.A. if they’re wiling to include Tyrese. But the Sixers are insisting they wouldn’t even trade him for a player like prime Michael Jordan.

Leverage season is here. And the Sixers might actually have a chance at Dame... if they’re willing to even try.

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