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Damian Lillard Trade Rumors: 76ers Interested in Blazers Star amid Simmons Buzz

Paul KasabianFeatured Columnist IIJuly 4, 2021

AP Photo/Steve Dykes

The Philadelphia 76ers are "angling" for Portland Trail Blazers point guard Damian Lillard via trade, per J. Michael of the Indianapolis Star.

The comments were made amid a broader conversation about the Indiana Pacers' offseason plans:

J. Michael @ThisIsJMichael

While <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Pacers?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Pacers</a> are open to moving down from 13 or packaging it in a deal, Im told there havent been any talks w/<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Sixers?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Sixers</a> who are angling for Lillard. For context about Pacers, they avoid albatross contracts. Had a deal in place for Conley 2 yrs ago nixed by Simon. Too much salary

J. Michael @ThisIsJMichael

So why would <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Pacers?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Pacers</a> be open to moving down from 13? Bc it only makes sense to move up into the top 6. After that there may not be much difference btw 9-13 or 13-20. If you can get your player lower and get other assets why not?

Lillard, who turns 31 years old on July 15, has played nine NBA seasons after Portland selected the former Weber State star ninth overall in the 2012 draft.

He's been nothing short of fantastic: Last season, the six-time All-NBA team member averaged 28.8 points and 7.5 assists for a 42-30 Blazers team that reached the playoffs for the eighth straight year.

However, on June 27, Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports reported that Lillard may want out, tweeting: "The backlash from Portland Trail Blazers’ coaching search and his concerns over whether a championship contender can be built have become major factors that could force Damian Lillard to request out, league sources tell Yahoo Sports."

Meanwhile, rumors are circulating around the Philadelphia 76ers after their disappointing playoff exit to the Atlanta Hawks, who upset the top-seeded Eastern Conference team in seven games in the second round.

Most notably, they surround point guard Ben Simmons, the three-time All-Star who struggled mightily in the Hawks series to the point where he scored just 19 combined points in the 76ers' final three games against them and shot just 33.3 percent from the free-throw line in the second round overall.

Of note, Jason Dumas of KRON4 News reported that the 76ers rejected an offer for Simmons that included point guard Malcolm Brogdon and a first-round pick.

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Speculation has taken place regarding a potential Simmons-Lillard swap, with Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer notably on board from the 76ers' side.

However, David Aldridge of The Athletic also recalled a conversation with an unnamed NBA team executive who told him that it could be an issue from the Portland side.

"[Simmons is] still really good," the executive said. "But he's so broken right now, you're going to get killed if you do that. And, you're the guy who replaced Dame."

Regardless of what goes down, the NBA offseason won't have any shortage of intrigue yet again as some of the game's biggest names could be on the move.

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