RUMOR: The Damian Lillard reason holding up Sixers’ Ben Simmons trade
Ben Simmons has been a name constantly in trade talks ever since his infamous showing, or lack thereof, against the Atlanta Hawks in the second round. But even as the offseason enters full swing, the Philadelphia 76ers haven’t gained any serious momentum towards dealing their star point forward.
It appears the reason why has been Sixers GM Daryl Morey’s watchful eye on another potential star on the move: Portland Trail Blazers point guard Damian Lillard. Bleacher Report’s Jake Fischer revealed in his latest report that Morey feels no pressure to act, while waiting on Dame’s situation to develop.
But one problem: there has not been an All-Star-caliber player made available that Morey and his staff have had strong interest in moving Simmons for, sources said.
Time is on Philadelphia’s side. The Sixers are not required to trade Simmons, although the overwhelming expectation around the league is that he will be moved before the 2021-22 season tips. That could occur in August; team executives are anxiously awaiting Damian Lillard’s return from the Tokyo Olympics, and a potential trade request that could occur if the All-Star guard doesn’t endorse Portland’s offseason roster adjustments.
“I think Daryl is just waiting for the Dame situation to explode,” said one team official.
At this point, imagining Ben Simmons to be the centerpiece of a trade for Damian Lillard just doesn’t seem plausible. But the Sixers do have a few other assets up their sleeve and could potentially come up with a trade that at least resembles a respectable offer for the Blazers star. But whether Damian Lillard does become available or not is what everyone, including Daryl Morey, is waiting to see.