Questions remain about Damian Lillard’s future with the Portland Trail Blazers, but the team could help him out by making a splash trade for Ben Simmons, per Shams Charania and Sam Amick of The Athletic. 

“Multiple sources have told The Athletic that Lillard would like to play with Philadelphia 76ers three-time All-Star Ben Simmons,” The Athletic reported. 

Charania and Amick reported former general manager Neil Olshey “discussed the framework of a trade for Simmons,” which included CJ McCollum, a first-round draft pick and a young player. 

Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard, right, looks to pass as Denver Nuggets forward Jeff Green, left, defends during the second half of an NBA basketball game in Portland, Ore., Tuesday, Nov. 23, 2021. (AP Photo/Steve Dipaola)

Olshey was fired on Friday after violating the team’s code of conduct.

The Trail Blazers could continue trade talks to help turn things around after an 11-13 start to the season, including five losses in the last six games. Lillard has missed the last three games due to an abdominal injury.

Portland has reached the playoffs in each of the last eight seasons, but only once in the last five years has the squad made it out of the first round. 

Adding Simmons could get the squad closer to contention by adding a three-time All-Star who was named first-team All-Defense in each of the past two years. The guard would be a better fit in the lineup as he can guard multiple positions without taking shots away from Lillard. 

Simmons, meanwhile, is yet to play this season and remains away from the 76ers due to mental health reasons. He requested a trade in the offseason and could benefit from a fresh start in a new location.

Lillard could also have the chance to play alongside another All-Star for the first time since LaMarcus Aldridge in 2014-15.

Dec 25, 2019; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Philadelphia 76ers guard Ben Simmons (25) pushes the ball upcourt against the Milwaukee Bucks during the second quarter at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Philadelphia has kept a high price tag on Simmons to this point, but the squad could be more willing to make a move after a 12-11 start to the season. Adding a top scorer like McCollum could be worth pulling the trigger after getting zero production from Simmons.    

Courtesy: Bleacher Report


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