Even though he's set to start the 2021/22 NBA season with the Portland Trail Blazers, nothing points out that Damian Lillard will finish the campaign with them. After an offseason full of rumors and speculation, the All-Star decided to run it back with the team and give new head coach Chauncey Billups a chance.
Dame has praised the 2004 Finals MVP's mindset, but that doesn't mean he's not studying different options to continue his career out of Portland. One of the teams interested in the player is the Philadelphia 76ers, who recently welcomed Ben Simmons back, waiting to see if they can move or keep him.
Meanwhile, they remain interested in Lillard, who could be a tremendous addition to Doc Rivers' squad. According to Shams Charania, the Sixers are ready to get Simmons back on the court. Still, they're not dismissing any option to improve their roster.
"The Sixers would love to get him back on the floor, but I’m told there really isn’t any change as far as where he stands mentally. I think he’s wanted a trade. I think, mentally, that hasn’t changed, and so, it’s still not clear where he stands with the organization. He’s met with Doc Rivers, Daryl Morey, Elton Brand, I’ve been told some of those meetings have gone pretty short. The organization probably feels like it’s gone well so you have two different sides to this and I think rival teams still believe he will be moved, it’s just a matter of time and one player that Philadelphia has monitored throughout the last few months and I think it will continue and the ball will continue to be rolled is Damian Lillard with Portland. I think there’s going to be a light going into this upcoming NBA season on the future of Damian Lillard and if Portland gets off to a rough start, like, I’ll tell you guys this if they’re not improved under Chauncey Billups this year, they risk losing Damian Lillard long term."
The Sixers are reportedly talking with several teams about a potential trade for Simmons. The Australian is still considered a good player around the league. Yet, not everybody is looking for a player like him or has the assets to unlock negotiations with Philly.
Perhaps Dame asking out of Portland would ease things for Daryl Morey and co., but they're stuck with Simmons right now. Suppose Lillard doesn't like how things go during the first months of competition in Portland. In that case, that could open the door not only for the 76ers but several other teams around the association.