The Ben Simmons saga continues to headline the NBA offseason. Trade rumors have been swirling once again after Simmons’ camp reportedly told the Philadelphia 76ers that the 25-year-old does not want to play in the City of Brotherly Love anymore. It’s hard to be Daryl Morey, who now has to decide whether he should wait out the season while having the Australian playmaker on the roster or get rid of his guard before the season starts. 

It’s also hard to blame Morey for wanting another All-Star caliber player in return for Simmons. But at the same time, it’s difficult to get back a star for Simmons because of his current reputation. There’s no way a Damian Lilard-for-Ben Simmons straight up trade would work (if Dame even asks out) because the Portland Trail Blazers obviously value their franchise player more. 

However, if there’s one trade the Blazers can at least listen to, it’s one that involves their guard CJ McCollum. CJ has been Dame’s backcourt running mate for years and it has gotten them nowhere except for one Western Conference finals appearance. And despite Simmons’ limitations as a basketball player, his strengths can actually boost this current Portland squad. 

Both the Blazers and Sixers need to make changes if they want to get to championship contender status. They cannot waste the primes of their current superstars (Dame for Portland and Joel Embiid for Philadelphia). The pressure is on both teams to find a way to get better. Maybe transacting a trade with each other is one way to do just that? 

Here’s why a potential Damian Lillard-Ben Simmons  pairing could work: 

3. Ben Simmons brings defense

Simmons gets criticized a lot for his offense, but that doesn’t mean he is a bad player who cannot contribute anything. Ben is actually an all-defensive team awardee and could have won the Defensive Player of the Year award last season.

The Blazers, who were a bottom team on defense last season, could really use Simmons’ defense if they can play him like how the Golden State Warriors play Draymond Green. That’s how good of a defender Simmons actually is. 

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2. He can remove the pressure off Damian Lillard

When it comes to bringing down the ball and playmaking, Ben Simmons can take off the load off Lillard. That’s actually where Ben is really good at as well.

It will give Lillard a breather every now and then and let him be a spo-up shooter or play off-ball, something he has barely done throughout his career. Maybe newly hired head coach Chauncey Billups knows a thing or two on how to work offense.

1. Dame can mentor Ben Simmons

Dame is known as one of the most resilient and hard working guys in today’s NBA. His tweets might say otherwise, but his game speaks for himself. What if all Simmons needs is a change of environment and even mentor to get his game and mindset right? Dame seems like the type to take Ben under his wing, which should do wonders for the 25-year-old who’s still finding his way on the offense. 

The best way to learn is to listen to the best and when it comes to scoring, Dame can for sure share some wisdom. Lillardcan shoot, deliver in the clutch and lead his team—something Simmons can really develop in his game today.