It's getting close to Christmas, which is always one of the first major markers of the NBA season. The day is filled with an exciting slate of games, and by that point, there's a good indication of how teams are stacking up around the league.
As the calendar turns to a new year, there will be even more speculation regarding potential moves that could take place before the trade deadline, which is set for Feb. 10. At this point, it's clear which teams are the most likely playoff contenders and which teams are not, but big moves aren't happening quite yet.
Rumors continue to circulate, though, and here's some of the latest buzz from around the NBA.
Lillard Wants Simmons to Come to Portland?
Damian Lillard and Ben Simmons in the same backcourt? It seems that's what Lillard is hoping materializes for the Portland Trail Blazers in the near future.
According to Shams Charania and Sam Amick of The Athletic, Lillard "would like to play with" Simmons, who still hasn't appeared in a game during the 2021-22 season because of his ongoing tension with the Philadelphia 76ers. However, this may not be something Lillard will push for in the near future.
"Lillard intends to give the Trail Blazers organization time to find its next leader of basketball operations. But beyond the front office component, the face of the franchise still wants significant changes to the roster," Charania and Amick wrote.
Portland recently fired Neil Olshey, who was the general manager and president of basketball operations. Joe Cronin is serving as the Trail Blazers' interim GM during their search for a replacement.
If Portland and Philadelphia eventually engage in trade discussions regarding Simmons, it appears it wouldn't be the first talks between the two sides on the topic. Charania and Amick reported that the 76ers and Trail Blazers "discussed the framework" of a Simmons deal when Olshey was still in Portland.
In that potential trade, Portland would have parted with CJ McCollum, a first-round draft pick and a young player (Nassir Little or Anfernee Simons), per Charania and Amick, but Philadelphia wanted McCollum, numerous draft picks and numerous draft-pick swaps, which the Trail Blazers rejected.
So that gives an indication of what the 76ers may be looking to acquire in exchange for Simmons. Will the Trail Blazers eventually offer that type of package and swing a deal? We may have to wait a bit to find out.
Timberwolves Looking to Acquire a Big Man
The Minnesota Timberwolves have been streaky so far this season. Last month, they had a stretch in which they lost eight of nine games to drop to 4-9. But they rebounded to win seven of their next eight to improve to 11-10.
Now, Minnesota is 11-13 and on a three-game losing streak after Monday's defeat against the Atlanta Hawks. But the Timberwolves are still ninth in the Western Conference and are in position to potentially surge up the standings later in the season.
If that's going to happen, though, Minnesota may need to add another strong player or two to its roster. And it appears the Timberwolves already know what they're looking to add.
Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic recently said on his podcast that Minnesota is aiming to add a post player, and it's been at work exploring the market.
"A big man is definitely needed and the Timberwolves know it. So they are combing the league, they are looking for options out there," Krawczynski said (h/t Aryanna Prasad of FanSided).
It's not yet clear who Minnesota may be looking to acquire. But if it adds a big man to play alongside All-Star center Karl-Anthony Towns in the post, it could take its post game to another level.