NBA Rumors: Hottest Trade Buzz Regarding Ben Simmons, Damian Lillard and More

Martin FennFeatured Columnist IJuly 8, 2021

NBA Rumors: Hottest Trade Buzz Regarding Ben Simmons, Damian Lillard and More

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    Craig Mitchelldyer/Associated Press

    Ben Simmons and Damian Lillard are polar opposites at the point guard position.

    Simmons is close to seven feet tall. He is blessed with tremendous physical gifts and terrific court vision while also being one of the best defenders in basketball.

    Lillard is smaller in stature. Unlike Simmons, however, "Dame" can pull the trigger from anywhere on the floor with consistency and seems to take (and make) the biggest shots in the biggest moments.

    Are the Philadelphia 76ers trying to swap one out for the other? Here are the latest rumors on Simmons' future in Philly and the Sixers' purported hopes to land Lillard, as well as whether the Detroit Pistons would consider trading off the No. 1 overall pick in the 2021 NBA draft.

Sixers, Pacers Did Not Discuss Simmons Deal

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    Matt Slocum/Associated Press

    There were some whispers the Sixers were already weighing offers for Simmons, who has arguably become the most polarizing player in the NBA.

    Jason Dumas of KRON4 News reported the Sixers already rejected a package from the Indiana Pacers that reportedly included Pacers point guard Malcolm Brogdon and a first-round pick. However, it is unknown whether the two sides ever really discussed player swaps.

    J. Michael of the Indianapolis Star reported the Pacers are open to including the No. 13 overall pick in a deal (or moving off the selection) but added Indiana has not had talks with the Sixers. Michael said the Pacers typically avoid taking on big contracts while also reporting Brogdon has not been told he is one of the players being discussed by president of basketball operations Kevin Pritchard.

    Dumas' initial report is a bit curious, mostly because that deal seems like one the Sixers would jump at. Brogdon averaged 21.2 points, 5.9 assists and 5.3 rebounds last season while also shooting close to 39 percent from beyond the arc. He can break defenders down off the dribble and make plays when he gets into the lane, or sit behind the arc and knock down spot-up triples. Of course, Philly would also get a first-round pick.

    Simultaneously, the hypothetical deal wouldn't seem to make a ton of sense for Indiana. Aside from giving up draft capital, the Pacers would also be depriving themselves of spacing. Simmons would give Indiana fairly unparalleled size (once T.J. Warren returns) and strong playmaking and defense, but the floor would also shrink on the Pacers.

    Regardless, it does not seem Indiana actually has interest in Simmons. Additionally, Philly could have its eyes on a point guard in Portland.

Sixers Pushing for Lillard?

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    John Locher/Associated Press

    Michael suggested the Sixers are "angling" for Portland Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard, who has shown signs of possibly being frustrated in the City of Roses.

    What a blockbuster that could be.

    This notion is not necessarily new. Kevin O'Connor of The Ringer reported the Sixers are "hoping" to land Lillard this offseason. There are also reasons to believe it could make sense for both teams, depending on the other pieces in a possible deal.

    Philly would likely offer Simmons, both as part of matching contract money as well as to give the Blazers a younger playmaker and elite perimeter defender, something Portland desperately needs. Maybe the Sixers even toss in a Seth Curry (who can run the point and is a sniper from deep) in addition to draft compensation. Would that be enough to entice the Blazers?

    Should Philly pry Lillard away from Portland, he would almost assuredly cement the Sixers' status as the top dog in the Eastern Conference. Lillard would be an ideal pick-and-roll partner for Joel Embiid and would also give Doc Rivers' team a late-game shot-maker unlike any the Sixers have had before.

    Still, the ask for Lillard—should he be made available—is likely to be gigantic. Would Philly be willing to pay the price?

Multiple Teams Calling Pistons About No. 1 Pick

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    Carlos Osorio/Associated Press

    The Detroit Pistons hold all the cards given they have the top overall pick in the upcoming NBA draft and will likely weigh their options. One such option could be trading down.

    Jonathan Givony of ESPN reported the Houston Rockets, Cleveland Cavaliers, New Orleans Pelicans and Oklahoma City Thunder have all made "overtures" to the Pistons regarding this possible asking price for the top pick. Givony added the Pistons could be "active" in possibly looking to trade down, opening the door for teams to climb up the board.

    There still seems to be a general feeling Oklahoma State star Cade Cunningham will be the No. 1 overall pick later this summer. However, Givony noted Cunningham is far from a "lock," noting Detroit is still evaluating G League Ignite star guard Jalen Green and USC big man Evan Mobley.

    Perhaps one of the teams picking after the Pistons will get aggressive if they get the sense Detroit could pass on Cunningham and prefers Green or Mobley plus added assets. Or, maybe Detroit will ultimately stay put and take Cunningham.

    In any event, Pistons general manager Troy Weaver will likely exhaust all of his options before his team is on the clock later this month.


    All stats obtained via Basketball Reference, unless otherwise noted.