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Sport Ben Simmons trade rumors: How 76ers star would fit with Trail Blazers' Damian Lillard

08:46  11 december  2021
08:46  11 december  2021 Source:   sportingnews.com

Several teams optimistic Damian Lillard will eventually request a trade

  Several teams optimistic Damian Lillard will eventually request a trade Damian Lillard has preached his unwavering commitment to the Por tland Trail Blazers, but the Sixers and other teams around the league remain optimistic he could eventually request a trade prior to the 2022-23 season. Philadelphia just needs one other All-Star to seek a new team. © Provided by HoopsHype Source: Jake Fischer @ Bleacher Report What’s the buzz on Twitter? Duane Rankin @DuaneRankin “Don’t want to lose 2 in a row.” “Back in my Clipper days, I guarded Dame every game.” “Better make it.” “He was just on the plane saying, ‘I’ll be ready tomorrow.

After a quiet few weeks, the Ben Simmons trade winds are swirling again.

ESPN reported on Friday late afternoon that Philadelphia's trade conversations have gained momentum over the last several days.

Wojnarowski reports that Portland has made clear that All-NBA guard Damian Lillard remains unavailable in trade talks and that the franchise has no interest in moving him.

Adrian’s Angles: Should The Blazers Be Sitting Damian Lillard?

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MORE: Lillard 'would like to play' with Ben Simmons

So what would it take for the Trail Blazers to get Simmons in a non-Lillard deal? Would they even make sense as a duo?

Let's take a closer look.

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What would it take for the Trail Blazers to get Ben Simmons?

Any deal for Simmons would likely involve CJ McCollum for two reasons.

One, the salaries of McCollum ($30.9 million) and Simmons ($33.0 million) are almost identical, making it easy to match salaries. Two, the 76ers are said to be looking for a star in return for Simmons. While McCollum hasn't made an All-Star team to this point of his career, he's the closest thing the Trail Blazers have to a star on their roster outside of Lillard.

Damian Lillard to rest against Detroit

  Damian Lillard to rest against Detroit Chris Haynes: Portland Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard (abdominal pain) is expected to rest tonight against the Detroit Pistons, league sources tell @YahooSports. © Provided by HoopsHype Source: Twitter @ChrisBHaynes What’s the buzz on Twitter? Jamie Hudson @JamieHudson_ Blazers Injury Report: Damian Lillard (abdominal tendinopathy injury management), Norman Powell (right quad contusion) and Nassir Little (left ankle sprain) are out for tonight’s game vs. Detroit.

According to The Athletic's Shams Charania, the Trail Blazers discussed the framework of a trade for Simmons which included McCollum, a first-round draft pick and one of the team's young players such as Nassir Little or Anfernee Simons while Olshey was still president of basketball operations. Before the season, the 76ers reportedly asked the Trail Blazers for three first-round picks and three draft swaps as part of a potential package for Simmons, but it was rejected by Portland.

Now under new leadership, it'll be interesting to see if the Trail Blazers try to reignite conversations with the 76ers.

MORE: What if Ben Simmons didn't pass on dunk vs. Hawks?

76ers star Ben Simmons © Provided by Sporting News 76ers star Ben Simmons

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Would Damian Lillard and Ben Simmons be a perfect match?

They'd have the potential to complement each other pretty well, that's for sure.

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  Damian Lillard’s Boldness Extends to Entrepreneurial Spirit The Portland superstar has the savvy and stamina to succeed in the business and basketball world.From humble beginnings in Oakland, California and a relatively under-the-radar four years at Weber State University in Ogden, Utah, the 31-year-old is now one of the world’s biggest names in sports.

First and foremost, Simmons would help Portland's defense in a big way. The Trail Blazers have been one of the better offensive teams in the league for almost a decade now, but they've struggled on the other end of the court. This season is no exception. Through 24 games, the Trail Blazers rank dead last in the league in defensive efficiency in giving up an average of 113.3 points per 100 possessions to their opponent.

As The Ringer's Kevin O'Connor recently detailed, the Trail Blazers have been playing a much more aggressive scheme this season, but it hasn't exactly worked.

One player might not be able to fix all of Portland's defensive problems, but Simmons would certainly make a difference. He's quickly established himself as one of the league's elite defenders, earning back-to-back All-NBA Defensive First Team selections and a second-place finish in Defensive Player of the Year voting. The Trail Blazers would benefit greatly from his versatility and overall disruptiveness.

For what it's worth, Lillard recently named Simmons as one of the top three perimeter defenders in the league right now. He's well aware of his ball-hawking ways.

Ben Simmons feels people with the Sixers weren't loyal to him

  Ben Simmons feels people with the Sixers weren't loyal to him I think Ben

On the other end of the court, Lillard is the ideal type of player to pair with Simmons because of how much attention he draws from the perimeter. Part of the problem in Philly is Simmons and Joel Embiid are fighting over the same real estate, with both of them being dominant paint scorers. That wouldn't be as much of a problem playing next to Lillard in Portland.

With the right mix of players around them, pick-and-rolls between the two could be dynamite. Lillard consistently draws double teams and Simmons is an excellent passer out of the short rolls. Handoffs would pack a similar punch.

Simmons would also add a new dynamic to the Trail Blazers with his transition play. Few players put as much pressure on teams in the open court as Simmons does and the Trail Blazers haven't gotten out on the break much in the Lillard era. That could make up for some of the offensive firepower the Trail Blazers would lose if they were to trade McCollum.

The Trail Blazers would likely run into some spacing issues with Simmons and Jusuf Nurkic on the court together, but they could look to flip Nurkic for a floor-spacing center. (This is the final season of Nurkic's current contract, so he could draw interest as an expiring contract if nothing else.) They could otherwise play Larry Nance Jr. more at the five to pair Simmons with a capable 3-point shooter and disruptive defender in the frontcourt.

Damian Lillard reacts to Trail Blazers firing Neil Olshey: 'Always had a really good relationship'

  Damian Lillard reacts to Trail Blazers firing Neil Olshey: 'Always had a really good relationship' Damian Lillard has been a member of the Portland Trail Blazers since 2012. During his 10 seasons in the NBA, Lillard has come to define the Portland franchise. The Trail Blazers experienced a major upheaval Friday, firing general manager Neil Olshey after a month-long investigation into allegations he created a toxic workplace. Lillard was asked about the situation during a Reddit AMA session. Lillard took part in the event to represent Gatorade, who was responsible for posting Lillard's responses. When asked about Olshey, Lillard said the two "always had a really good relationship.

A frontcourt of Simmons and Nance Jr. could be a step in the right direction of the Trail Blazers finding the right balance of offense and defense.

MORE: Building the perfect team around Ben Simmons

How likely are the Trail Blazers to trade for Ben Simmons?

Until anything happens beyond more churning of the rumor mill, it's difficult to say whether Friday's update from Wojnarowski is a real sign that Philly's stance has shifted.

76ers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey said not long ago that "people should buckle in" when discussing the situation with Simmons, making it clear that he's looking to get someone who can be a difference-maker in return.

Does McCollum fit the bill as a difference-maker? Only Morey can ask answer that question.

Lillard, meanwhile, kept his response to the rumor that he's "grown frustrated" with Portland's play short and sweet.

Safe to assume that there's still a lot that has to be figured out.

The End of the Neil Olshey Era Leaves the Trail Blazers in a State of Disarray .
Olshey was fired by Portland on Friday. Whoever succeeds him will have plenty of problems to solve. View the original article to see embedded media.The beginning of the end for Neil Olshey came last June, when the embattled Blazers GM stood in front of reporters to announce the firing of Terry Stotts and attempted to convince them it was Stotts, not the roster, that was the problem. The defense was better than the cellar-dweller it had been the last two seasons, Olshey insisted, and the core of the team—specifically Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum—could still be molded into a winner.

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