Damian Lillard and Ben Simmons need to be traded. While a straight-up swap would work, it’s more fun to get a third team involved.
It’s time to stop dancing around it. It’s time to make the move.
The rumors, swirling. The sources, anonymous. The players, cryptic.
Two enormous dominos from opposite coastlines still have to fall to truly settle all family business from this offseason. We saw the playoffs and the resulting untenable situations.
Damian Lillard is the face of an offensive stalwart in the Pacific Northwest. But Portland’s perpetual cap issues and mismatched roster led them to a first-round exit. Along the Mid-Atlantic, Ben Simmons needs to move on from Philadelphia and the city of Philadelphia needs to move on from Ben Simmons. While it makes sense to deal them for each other, bringing a third team into the mix makes it spicer.
Trail Blazers Get
2022 + 2024 1st Round Picks from PHI and SAS
Why the Trail Blazers do this Ben Simmons – Damian Lillard trade:
Everyone needs a fresh start. You can only run back a flawed, good-but-not-great team so many seasons before the players feel like Sisyphus and fans feel like his rock. It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy, a predestination of maniacal disappointment befell from stubbornness, false hope, and pot commitment. In the poker game of life, sometimes you need to fold your hand and try a different table.
Dejounte Murray, Derrick White, Paul Reed and four first-rounders would be a great base of a rebuild. Go the way of the Thunder and try to compile ALL the draft picks. Because, to paraphrase the Mystery Box Principle: good players are good players, but draft picks can be anything. They can even be good players.
Why the 76ers do this Ben Simmons – Damian Lillard trade:
Copy that entire first paragraph about Portland and paste it here. I imagine this past playoffs and start of the offseason barbequed Simmons’ psyche to a charred husk.
When a cornerstone player hits rock bottom and goes through the doldrums, a franchise can either do everything in its power to stick by them or move on. This summer, Joel Embiid got his supermax extension and Philadelphia openly shopped Simmons, soooooo……
Why the Spurs do this Ben Simmons – Damian Lillard trade:
Two words: Yee. Haw.
Give the Gregg Popovich era one last hurrah with a contender. Look, he’s not going to be around forever. His twilight seasons shouldn’t be spent toiling in forgetful mediocrity. San Antonio should do whatever it takes to trot out some stars and give Coach Pop one more run at glory.
The pairing of Simmons and CJ McCollum should work in symphonic contrast like peanut butter and jelly, with each other’s strengths making up for their individual shortcomings. Plus, if anyone can solve Simmons’ shooting apprehension and build his confidence, it’s the mysticism of Chip Engelland.
Even with what they’d hypothetically sacrifice to make this theoretically happen, they’d have a solid supporting cast leftover. Not to mention, there’s a 50-50 shot they own the rights to another international gem just waiting to be polished by the Spurs ecosystem of player development. Do it for Pop, do it for the culture.