As Philadelphia 76ers Start gathering momentum in conversations about finding deals for All-Star guardians Ben Simmons, the Portland Trail Blazers reiterate that one of the Sixers’ top goals – the All-NBA Defender Damian Lillard — not available to be discussed, sources told ESPN.
The Sixers and Blazers have hooked up in recent days, and Portland’s interim general manager Joe Cronin has made it clear to Philadelphia that the franchise’s plans continue to build around Lillard as a platform, sources said. said.
However, the Sixers are becoming more involved on many fronts in the Simmons-focused negotiations. Philadelphia has been actively trying to put together two- and three-team deal structures to offer them a package that includes a top level 25 player, sources said.
Much of the increased momentum focused on Wednesday, when many players signed on to the season as free agents became eligible to be traded. Starting December 15, 84% of the 446 players under contract can be included in the transactions. Currently, 65% of the league’s players qualify.
The Sixers have long targeted Lillard, who reaffirmed his desire to stay in Portland at the start of the team’s training camp. After recently shot of basketball executive chairman Neil Olshey, Cronin has publicly and privately said the franchise plans to continue building the organization around Lillard. Blazers opened to discuss a deal for Simmons as protection center CJ McCollum, but that conversation never gained real traction, the sources said.
Simmons has yet to play for Philadelphia this season, citing mental health problems when joining the team. He made a trade request after the Sixers lost Atlanta in the semi-finals of the Eastern Conference.
ESPN’s Bobby Marks contributed to this report.
https://www.espn.com/nba/story/_/id/32838826/sources-portland-trail-blazers-damian-lillard-limits-trade-talks-philadelphia-76ers-ben-simmons Source – Portland Trail Blazers’ Damian Lillard ignores limits in trade talks for Philadelphia 76ers’ Ben Simmons