Ben Simmons has wanted out from the Philadelphia 76ers for a while, and despite the continued fines from the team, has not yet played for the franchise. There's no question that he's a top-tier point guard and defensive player when playing.
Some previous reports suggested that there's was a lot of trade interest in Ben Simmons, with around 10 teams (one-third of the league) inquiring about his services. One of those teams was the Portland Trail Blazers.
Recently, Shams Charania and Sam Amick of The Athletic reported that the Trail Blazers and the 76ers discussed "the framework" of a trade that would send Ben Simmons to the Portland Trail Blazers in exchange for CJ McCollum, a first-round pick, and a young player such as Nassir Little or Anfernee Simons. It was also mentioned that Damian Lillard actually wants to play with Ben Simmons.
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. Multiple sources have told The Athletic that Lillard would like to play with Philadelphia 76ers three-time All-Star Ben Simmons. The Trail Blazers’ league-worst defense would instantly improve, and sharing a backcourt with a non-shooter could work given Lillard’s high-volume usage.
Sources say the Trail Blazers, under Olshey, discussed the framework of a trade for Simmons, moving CJ McCollum, a first-round draft pick and a young player such as Nassir Little or Anfernee Simons to Philadelphia. The 76ers, sources said, at one point asked the Trail Blazers for McCollum and multiple draft picks and multiple draft swaps, which Portland rejected. Olshey maintained significant confidence in the roster he constructed. Now, it’s unclear if there’s a deal to be had with the 76ers. But with Olshey out, who among chair Jody Allen, vice chair Bert Kolde and Cronin would be the one making the call on a Simmons trade or any acquisition designed to alleviate Lillard’s concerns?
A deal has obviously not been done yet, and the article mentions that "it's unclear if there's a deal to be had with the 76ers". However, that doesn't mean that a trade can't happen in the future, and perhaps there could be more talks on this front later on. Ben Simmons would improve the Trail Blazers' defense, while CJ McCollum would give the 76ers a premier perimeter shot creator. There are certainly basketball reasons for doing this trade as well.
We'll see what happens going forward. The Portland Trail Blazers definitely need to make a move, as they have simply been an inconsistent team, and changes could potentially provide a spark for them to improve. While continuity is good, it seems as though this iteration of the Trail Blazers has run its course.