Philadelphia 76ers Rumors: Damian Lillard will not be traded this offseason

(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /

*sigh* welp, cross another name of the Philadelphia 76ers‘ offseason wish list.

After watching Bradley Beal‘s future in Washington solidify with the acquisitions of Spencer Dinwiddle, Kyle Kuzma, KCP, and Montrezl Harrell via trade, the Sixers can now (probably) cross Damian Lillard off of their gettable trade list, as Bobby Marks of ESPN has reported via The Jump that Lillard will in all likelihood report to camp with the Portland Trail Blazers this fall.

Could Lillard still end up in a different uniform this time next year? Sure. Per Marks, Lillard could demand a trade as early as December/January depending on how the Blazers’ season shakes out under first-year head coach Chauncey Billups, but do you know who that doesn’t help at all?

The Sixers, who have reportedly been cut off from communication with disgruntled star player Ben Simmons, and will have a really awkward situation if he’s still on the roster when opening night rolls around this fall.

This whole situation is… not ideal.

Can the Philadelphia 76ers hold out for a Damian Lillard trade next year?

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The key to the Philadelphia 76ers landing a legitimate superstar to pair up with Joel Embiid has always been a trade request.

While not every trade request gets honored, just ask the $15 million man, Furkan Korkmaz, usually, when a star NBA player demands a trade, they get it before the situation becomes dire, agents start to sour on an organization, and things get downright ugly in the “talk sports” space.

Unfortunately, the only star player who looks like they’ll be demanding a trade anytime soon is Ben Simmons, who is already being shopped around in a very public way.

Assuming that ultimately does go down, and certified superagent Rich Paul starts to work his magic at the behest of his client, the Sixers may not be able to bring Simmons back this fall and pretend everything is copacetic. They won’t be able to hope Simmons’ value bounces back this fall or that he finally returns with a developed 3 point shot either.

No, if Simmons demands a trade, he’ll be off to another team, say Sacramento, for the best trade deal they can muster, and as a result, the team will at best be marginally better in a division that has improved a whole heck of a lot over the past month.

Worst case scenario? The Sixers have to take back a package of young players like the one Golden State is surely presenting, and the margin of error for winning a title during Joel Embiid’s prime becomes a whole heck of a lot smaller (more on that here).

Now granted, securing a less “marquee” package for Simmons’ services isn’t necessarily the worst thing in the world. Swapping out the “Down Under Wonders” for a point guard who is actually willing to shoot plus additional role players, developmental pieces, and/or future picks could still keep the Sixers among the top-four teams in the East and in a better position to win close playoff games in their waning minutes. Factor in the ability to retain most of the team’s future draft capital, and young players like Matisse Thybulle/Tyrese Maxey and the Sixers won’t suddenly be headlining the Lottery if they aren’t able to secure a certified superstar via trade.

But then again, for a team looking to make a serious swing for an MVP-level superstar, walking into the regular season with only one All-Star/All-NBA-level talent would be incredibly underwhelming versus the offseason expectations, right up there with Brett Brown’s “star hunting” in 2018.

Next. Golden State doesn’t have a viable Ben Simmons trade package. dark

Could Bobby Marks’ reporting ultimately prove false? Could Damian Lillard return from Tokyo and decide he’s ready for the next chapter of his career, Kevin Garnett-style? Sure, to paraphrase KG, “Anything is Possible!” but for the time being, Philadelphia 76ers fans should probably prepare themselves for a 2021-22 season sans Damian Lillard, as anything else is just getting your hopes up for a borderline inevitable letdown.