January 19, 2021
NBA Rumors: Sixers Could Acquire Damian Lillard For Ben Simmons, Tyrese Maxey, Matisse Thybulle & Draft Picks

Though James Harden was already traded to the Brooklyn Nets, rumors still continue to swirl around Ben Simmons and his future with the Philadelphia 76ers. The Sixers may be currently playing well in the 2020-21 NBA season, but Simmons' inability to shoot the ball from beyond the arc remains a major concern for the team. If a superstar of Harden's caliber becomes available once again on the market, there's a possibility that Sixers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey may finally consider moving the former No. 1 overall pick before the 2021 trade deadline.

One of the dream targets for the Sixers in a potential blockbuster deal involving Simmons is All-Star point guard Damian Lillard of the Portland Trail Blazers. Lillard has yet to become officially available on the trading block but if the Trail Blazers decide to part ways with their franchise player, Greg Patuto of NBA Analysis Network suggested that the Sixers should go all-in to bring him to the City of Brotherly Love.

In the proposed trade scenario, Philadelphia would be sending a package that includes Simmons, Tyrese Maxey, Matisse Thybulle, first-round selections in 2021 and 2023, and the right to swap picks in 2021 to Portland in exchange for Lillard.

"Damian Lillard going to the Philadelphia 76ers would be electric but fans might not be happy with the return. This is a deal that would not be cheap for Philly. It would begin by sending Ben Simmons to the Portland Trail Blazers to replace Lillard. Tyrese Maxey and Matisse Thybulle are young players that would be on the move. This might prove problematic because Maxey has quickly turned into a fan favorite. The 76ers would also have to send some draft capital to the Trail Blazers in this deal, just as any team would when they are making a splash for a superstar."

Damian Lillard #0 of the Portland Trail Blazers goers up for a shot against Matisse Thybulle #22 of the Philadelphia 76ers during the fourth quarter at Visa Athletic Center at ESPN Wide World Of Sports Complex on August 09, 2020 in Lake Buena Vista, Florida.
Getty Images | Kevin C. Cox

Trading a generational talent like Simmons, along with two very promising players in Maxey and Thybulle, could be a tough decision for the Sixers, but it might be worth it if it means acquiring a player of Lillard's caliber. The Sixers wouldn't only be replacing Simmons with another great playmaker, but also an All-Star who could space the floor.

This season, Lillard is averaging 28.1 points, 4.7 rebounds, 6.7 assists, and one steal while shooting 44.1 percent from the field and 36.9 percent from beyond the arc, per ESPN. Pairing Joel Embiid with an elite three-point shooter like Lillard could enable the Sixers to unleash his full potential on the court and focus more on dominating under the basket. If Lillard meshes well with the core of Embiid, Tobias Harris, Danny Green, and Seth Curry, the Sixers might have a better chance of dominating the Eastern Conference and winning the NBA championship this year.