Life as a Sixers fan never gets boring. Fresh off another disappointing playoff exit and faced with a major decision on Ben Simmons’ future, the Sixers find themselves at the heart of trade rumors. This time the trade rumors that are swirling involve a player named Damian Lillard.
Before we get too far into this rabbit hole, it is important to note that Damian Lillard has not requested a trade at the time of this writing. Everything is purely speculative. However, when there are rumblings that a player is unhappy and he is in the same stratosphere as Damian Lillard you can fire up the trade machines.
What Would It Take?
When it comes to the Sixers and where they stand in a potential Damian Lillard sweepstakes, you can expect them to be at the forefront of discussions. One can argue Ben Simmons is the most attractive trade piece a team could float in front of Portland. If Daryl Morey wants Damian Lillard in the city of Brotherly Love, he can make it happen. A package of Simmons, Tyrese Maxey, and Matisse Thybulle and a combination of picks would likely secure a deal.
You may be irate at the prospect of losing Maxey and Thybulle, but when you can pair Damian Lillard with Joel Embiid, you do it. While Maxey and Thybulle are both fantastic prospects, their development will take years. Joel Embiid is in his prime, and the Sixers need to capitalize on that immediately. We have reached the point of the process (pun fully intended) where there is no time to wait on players to develop.
While one might think Lillard’s value would decrease with Portland losing leverage, they would be wrong. Lillard is currently under contract for four more years. A player of his caliber wanting out with that contract is unheard of, and this only brings up his value even more. This gives Portland their leverage back and is why they would likely seek a treasure chest of picks and players.
Why You Do It
Given the situation in Portland, it appears things are going to get worse before they get better. The process and hiring of Chauncey Billups have been met with controversy, and the team itself is stuck. The duo of Lillard and McCollum is not going to win them a championship. Lillard knows this and is faced with an impossible decision. He loves the city of Portland and its fans but knows they will not win a championship. The question now becomes does he stand by his city, or does he chase NBA glory? Assuming that he chooses the latter, Philadelphia would be the perfect place for him to accomplish that.
Instantaneously Lillard and Embiid become a Top 3 duo in the league. Throw in players like Tobias Harris and Seth Curry, and you have one of the most dynamic offenses in the league. For a team built on its defensive prowess, this would be a complete 180. However, imagine watching defenses struggle with containing Lillard and Curry from beyond the arc with Tobias getting his mid-range buckets and Joel Embiid being an unstoppable force in the paint.
A lot will have to happen for Lillard to formally request a trade. Whether or not he does is out of the Sixers’ control. However, if he does, Daryl Morey needs to do whatever it takes to get him to Philadelphia. A Damian Lillard and Joel Embiid pairing would give this team instant title aspirations and raise this team’s ceiling to heights we have never seen before.
Image: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports
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