Damian Lillard reportedly wants “significant changes” made to the Trail Blazers’ roster, and he likes the idea of sharing a backcourt with one of the NBA’s more unique players.
In a column published Monday to The Athletic, Shams Charania and Sam Amick shed light on Portland’s firing of general manager Neil Olshey and looked ahead to the future of the franchise. Within the column was a nugget about Lillard’s reported desire to team up with an All-Star guard.
“Lillard intends to give the Trail Blazers organization time to find its next leader of basketball operations,” the story reads. “But beyond the front office component, the face of the franchise still wants significant changes to the roster. Multiple sources have told The Athletic that Lillard would like to play with Philadelphia 76ers three-time All-Star Ben Simmons. The Trail Blazers’ league-worst defense would instantly improve, and sharing a backcourt with a non-shooter could work given Lillard’s high-volume usage.”
According to Charania and Amick, the Blazers already have tried to trade for Simmons. Portland’s offer reportedly included CJ McCollum, a first-round pick and a young player. The Sixers countered by asking for McCollum, multiple draft picks and multiple draft swaps, which the Trail Blazers declined.
Of course, Olshey was at the helm of the front office at the time, and it remains to be seen how the future shot-caller in Portland would feel about a similar deal.
Regardless, Lillard isn’t getting any younger and Portland can’t afford to waste time trying to improve at the risk of its franchise cornerstone growing even more frustrated. So whether it’s a blockbuster move for Simmons or another star, the Blazers need to act relatively fast.