Damian Lillard reportedly has an interest in playing Ben Simmons.
According to The Athletic’s Shams Charania and Sam Amick, Lillard intends to give the Trail Blazers time to find a new basketball operations leader following the firing of Neil Olshey, but “still wants significant roster changes.”
Multiple sources told Charania and Amick that Lillard “would like to play with” Simmons.
Inside Portland’s firing of veteran general manager Neil Olshey and what’s next with the Trail Blazers and franchise mainstay Damian Lillard – en @Athletic with @sam_amick: https://t.co/xblo7PDaAG
– Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) December 6, 2023
Charania reported Before the start of the 2023-22 season, the Trail Blazers had rejected a potential 76ers package that revolved around Simmons and CJ McCollum that included three first-round picks and three draft changes. Under Olshey, the Blazers also discussed the framework of a Simmons trade built around McCollum, a first-round pick and a young player.
At the time, Olshey is said to have had “significant confidence in the list he had built.”
The Trail Blazers have had a slow start to the season, ranking 10th in the Western Conference standings with an 11-13 record. They currently rank fifth in offensive efficiency but last in defensive efficiency. Lillard has become frustrated with Portland’s game in recent weeks and “the tension seems to be mounting” between the players and head coach Chauncey Billups, according to Charania and Amick.
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How could the Trail Blazers trade for Ben Simmons?
Simmons is on the books for $ 33.0 million this season. Lillard ($ 39.3 million) and McCollum ($ 30.9 million) are the only Trail Blazers players making similar money. The team’s next highest winners are Norman Powell ($ 15.5 million), Robert Covington ($ 13.0 million), Jusuf Nurkic ($ 12.0 million) and Larry Nance Jr. ($ 10.7 million).
According to ESPN’s Bobby Marks, Powell cannot be traded until January 15.
Portland’s best chance to match wages in a trade for Simmons would be to build a package around McCollum. However, it is unknown how interested the 76ers would be in McCollum.
It’s no secret that the 76ers are looking to get a star in exchange for Simmons, and Amick recently reported that there are “roughly 30 players” who would satisfy the franchise in a trade for him, a list that includes Lillard, Bradley Beal and James. Toughen.
MORE: Who could be the 30 players on Philadelphia’s roster?
The Ben Simmons contract
Having signed an extension in 2019, Simmons is under contract through the 2024-25 season.
|Ben simmons||$ 33,003,936||$ 35,448,672||$ 37,893,408||$ 40,338,144|
Simmons has career averages of 15.9 points, 8.1 rebounds, 7.7 assists and 1.7 steals per game. He has won three All-Star selections, two All-Defensive First Team selections and one All-NBA Third Team selection.
Damian Lillard’s contract
Lillard has a player option of $ 48.8 million on his contract for the 2024-25 season.
|Damian Lillard||$ 39,344,900||$ 42,492,492||$ 45,640,084||$ 48,787,676|