Damian Lillard has a slew of trade options and the Philadelphia 76ers have the right pieces to get him out of Portland if that’s what he wants.
As Damian Lillard has been preparing for the Summer Olympics in Tokyo, he has told numerous outlets including NBC Sports that he’s adamant about keeping trade rumors in the Blazers family. That’s noble, but it’s hardly calmed the trade winds powering the rumor mill this offseason.
Some rumors aren’t even factually based, they’re just hypotheticals that are fun to talk about. It’s not every day that a superstar like Lillard is standing as close to trade talks as he is, so as long as we acknowledge he hasn’t asked for a trade, why not have some fun imagining a few different scenarios?
One hypothetical in particular involves a trade in which Philadelphia and Portland swap star point guards in a massive package.
How can the 76ers make a trade with Portland become a reality?
The Athletic’s Derek Bodner thinks the addition of younger blood in the package to Portland, like Tyrese Maxey and Matisse Thybulle, could result in a successful trade. The question is, are these teams willing to commit to a deal like this since both are looking to grow and be playoff contenders for the long haul?
The potential is there, especially with Lillard partnering up with Joel Embiid, who’s hungry to go far. But consideration should be made for whether Ben Simmons would make the move to Portland, and if Portland would be willing to give up Lillard in exchange for Simmons.
While Simmons’ future is unclear, the question is if the Blazers would be willing to take the baggage that comes with him to rebuild. The trade wouldn’t be fruitless, as it provides him an opportunity to move to a new team and work toward refining his game in a way that negates the struggles that he faced in Philly. 76ers fans and Simmons both have hazy outlooks on the overall relationship between player and team, and that within itself should force him to start weighing out options.
Is the Philly/Portland trade a win-win situation, or a win-lose situation?
An exchange for a veteran like Lillard to Philadelphia gives an opportunity to build a team with all of the tools to create a definite playoff reappearance. Joel Embiid would get the chance to work in partnership with a well-seasoned teammate with plenty of playoff experience and of the like that he can take advantage of.
But what about Maxey and Thybulle? If they are not a part of the trade, the Sixers are a definite contender a championship, no questions asked. For the Blazers, the opportunity to work with an athlete like Simmons and tap into his potential may be a challenge, but not one that’s impossible to take on. They’ll have to come to terms with the growing pains that come with rebuilding, and with that comes more draft picks and younger players like Maxey and Thybulle.
Overall, there will be a winner, but the chance of a loser in this kind of trade would not be zero.