Sixers reportedly 'hoping' to trade for star point guard


The Clippers failed to hold on without Kawhi Leonard on Wednesday night, and now the future of a once-promising two-man core is under scrutiny out in Los Angeles. Sound like a familiar situation?

The same thing is happening in Philadelphia, and the same thing is happening in Portland. It's high time for many front offices to take stock of what they have... and maybe shake things up sooner rather than later.

On Thursday, The Ringer's Kevin O'Connor was discussing the future of George in Los Angeles and the tenuous Damian Lillard situation in Portland in an article when he suddenly also brought up Ben Simmons and the Sixers, and dropped a nugget at the end of this paragraph while talking about possible George trade ideas:

"There’s also Ben Simmons, the Sixers All-Star who spends nearly all of his off time in Los Angeles and would add a much-needed playmaking dimension to the Clippers. But regardless of the other pieces involved in a potential deal, would Leonard want to team up with Simmons after the latter’s disastrous postseason? Is that a deal the Sixers would want to make, when league sources say they’re also hoping for an opportunity to land Lillard?"

League sources say the Sixers are hoping for an opportunity to land Lillard, eh? 

Sixers fans were connecting the dots as soon as the Yahoo! Sports report about Lillard's displeasure dropped over the weekend, but this is the first time we've heard an actual report about the Sixers' front office putting a target on a Lillard trade.


Now, it's important to note that this isn't "the Sixers and Blazers have engaged in talks", or "the Sixers are determined to acquire Lillard". The report is that Morey & Co. are "hoping for an opportunity", which isn't exactly urgent. But then, the playoffs aren't even over yet and the Sixers are still unpacking this failed season.

In a possible Lillard pursuit, this is probably where you'd expect the organization to be. They've seen that Lillard might want to leave, and they've started to seriously consider the possibility that they could go and get him. 

This is good. Doing due diligence and starting to angle for a potential superstar is exactly what Morey should be doing. There's no time to waste when Joel Embiid is so firmly in his MVP-level prime. The championship window right now, and adding Lillard would make the Sixers clear title contenders next season.

NBC Sports Philadelphia's Noah Levick explored the idea of a Lillard deal earlier this week, and floated this general framework when thinking about what a trade might cost the Sixers:

"Simmons might appeal to the Blazers as a 24-year-old with untapped potential who could transform their poor defense, but we assume they’d also request draft picks and promising youngsters such as Tyrese Maxey and Matisse Thybulle. There’s always a line, but it would be fair enough for the Sixers to sacrifice some of their future in exchange for a better chance at winning during Joel Embiid’s best years. With Embiid’s checkered health history, nothing is guaranteed."

We'll see what exactly Morey does vs. what he wants to do, but this is a great sign for Sixers fans who believe pairing Embiid with Lillard would turn the Sixers into an un-guardable offensive force.

Lillard, who turns 31 later this month, is under contract for four more seasons, carrying a cap hit between $39 million and $48 million on his max contract.