Whenever a team gets complacent, they tend to make some major changes to their roster, and that’s exactly what the 76ers and Blazers need to do. Both teams have major issues that need to be addressed soon, or else a championship will be out of the realm of possibility.
The 76ers biggest issue is the lack of a team identity, and the Blazers biggest issue is constantly underachieving. The trade that I’m proposing to all of you is Ben Simmons for Damian Lillard. You can throw in a couple of first round picks with Ben Simmons, but this is a blockbuster trade that makes perfect sense.
Why would the 76ers accept this trade?
This is the best possible scenario for the 76ers, hands down. At this point in the 76ers “rebuild”, they’re in desperate need of a deep postseason run. Since “The Process” began in 2013, they haven’t made it past the second round of the playoffs. More recently there’s been a growing concern about the compatibility of Simmons and Embiid as they both have a tendency to clog up the paint.
Embiid has proven to be a more impactful player than Simmons (per impact stats) due to the 76ers bully ball style of play. The ability to pair a dominant post player (Embiid) with a scorer, rather than pair a playmaker (Simmons) with a supporting cast is much more attractive.
The biggest issue the 76ers face is the lack of a true team identity, but with Lillard & Embiid, they would gain a dominant identity immediately. Joel Embiid is one of the most dominant players in the league, so pairing him with an excellent scorer gives this offense much needed flexibility. The 76ers roster is currently constructed to excel on the defensive side, but is a discombobulated mess on the offensive side.
With Philadelphia already comprising a top 10 defense, they could easily part ways with Simmons in order to give that offense the firepower to compete with every other team in the league. Yes, the 76ers will be parting ways with a unique playmaker and some future picks, but pairing Lillard with Embiid screams title contention.
Why would the Blazers accept this trade?
While Damian Lillard has been the holy grail for all of Portland, the lack of major success reveals that a roster shakeup may be imminent. Although Lillard has given the Blazers plenty of hope throughout his tenure, the reality is, they’ve made it past the 2nd round a mere one time. In addition to the lack of winning, Lillard is quickly approaching 31 years of age, which shows that Portland’s championship window is rapidly deteriorating.
With this trade, the Blazers have the opportunity to extend their championship window because Simmons is only 24 years old. With Simmons being a playmaker, CJ McCollum will be granted the opportunity to flourish as the team’s main scorer, which is something he’s proven to do in small sample sizes.
The Blazers currently have the 27th ranked defense in the league, so Simmons’ ability to guard 1-4 gives that side of the ball a major boost. In addition to the 7 years age difference between Lillard and Simmons, the Blazers will be saving almost $15 million a year. With this trade, the Blazers give themselves far more roster flexibility, two major draft assets, and the opportunity to rebuild this team with major cornerstone pieces.
How would the 76ers be impacted?
This trade will immediately put Philadelphia in title contention. Teaming a dominant offensive force like Joel Embiid with Damian Lillard’s firepower will make this offense a force to be reckoned with. Their offensive system would receive a major boost in flexibility because of Lillard’s ability to score on a dime whereas Simmons is solely a playmaker.
The 76ers lack of spacing would be relieved because Embiid could focus on the paint without having to worry about his point guard, Ben Simmons, clogging it up.
The 76ers defense will obviously take a step back without the presence of Simmons, but you can expect Matisse Thybulle to start playing minutes due to his supreme lockdown defense. The obvious downside of this trade is how they’re mortgaging their future for a championship now, but it’s a sacrifice that all successful teams have to make.
Their cap space as well will look like an absolute dumpster fire, but the talent they’ll possess is entirely worth it. With Damian Lillard and Joel Embiid on the court, this team has the starpower and supporting cast to win a championship.
How would the Blazers be impacted?
This trade would fully be an attempt at a roster retooling. While this may be a controversial thought, the Blazers might actually have a better record with Ben Simmons at the helm. CJ McCollum has been playing second fiddle to Dame his whole career, but now he would have the opportunity to be the team’s leading scorer.
Simmons would add a defensive element to this team that they’ve sorely lacked while allowing Anfernee Simons and McCollum to handle scoring on offense.
The main reason this trade would fall through is because of what Lillard means to this franchise as he is completely beloved by his fanbase. On the basketball court, this team would have more youth, assets, and not as much pressure to win right away. The Blazers would completely miss Lillard’s presence as their greatest spark on offense, but McCollum has proved that he can average 25+ points a game in the playoffs and hit the big time shots.
This trade may be a complete pipe dream but it makes total sense. Both of these teams are in major need of a roster shakeup, and this trade provides them that. Fans of their respective teams can say what they want, but at the end of the day, when a deal has to happen, it has to happen, and this is one that is a necessity.
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