Trail Blazers concerned about teaming Ben Simmons with Damian Lillard

The Philadelphia 76ers and the Portland Trail Blazers have been two teams that have been linked all summer long. They both have stars that have been involved in trade rumors and they have been linked together as Philadelphia looks to take a step forward.

In Philadelphia’s case, it is obviously Ben Simmons who the Sixers have taken trade calls on since their Game 7 loss in Round 2 of the playoffs. For Portland, their case is Damian Lillard who, supposedly, has grown frustrated with the Blazers and their lack of playoff success.

For Philadelphia, their ultimate goal is to acquire Lillard with Simmons as their main attractive piece to get a deal done. Simmons at 25-years old can still be a franchise cornerstone and he has had brilliant moments in his short career thus far, but now that Simmons wants out of Philadelphia immediately, the Sixers do not have much time to wait for Lillard to be available in a deal.

So, that brings up a question of maybe the Sixers getting in on C.J. McCollum who is a solid player in his own right. While McCollum is not the explosive superstar that Lillard is, he does fix issues for Philadelphia such as the need for a perimeter scorer who can break down a defense.

However, Aaron Fentress of The Oregonian joined Gina Mizell of The Philadelphia Inquirer and he reports that the Blazers don’t like the fit of Simmons with Lillard which would hinder a McCollum deal.

Fentress wrote:

I love the fit for both teams. However, I’ve been told by some within the Blazers organization that they are not sure how well Simmons and Lillard would fit together. Simmons wants to play the Magic Johnson role, which requires having the ball in his hands. Well, that’s Lillard’s job. I could see Lillard playing off the ball more often but in the end, it’s his team and he will want the ball the majority of the time. That would force Simmons to play a role he isn’t used to.

This feels like it makes a lot of sense considering how much Simmons wants the ball in his hands despite being 6-foot-10. While he is obviously a terrific playmaker and he creates so many open looks for his teammates which would make it a no-brainer for him to have the ball in his hands, his struggles in the half-court offense make it tough. If Simmons could accept an off-ball role and play next to Lillard, the possibilities for Portland could be endless on that end.

As for McCollum’s fit in Philadelphia, he averaged 23.1 points and 4.7 assists for the Blazers in the 2020-21 season and he shot 40.2% from deep. His ability to break down a defense and be able to get his own shot while also being able to shoot with range would help the Sixers immensely. Considering Simmons’ trade request with the lack of time they have, if they could swing a deal for McCollum, it would not be the worst thing in the world.

This post originally appeared on Sixers Wire! Follow us on Facebook!


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