— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) January 12, 2022
One of the ways that it’s throwing a monkey wrench into Portland’s plans is that it makes any major trades – including perhaps the most promising one – all but impossible right now.
Lillard’s injury, surgery, and absence put the entire team on pause and are forcing them to wait and see what will come next.
So Long, Simmons?
Since Ben Simmons of the Philadelphia 76ers made it obvious that he wants to be traded from his home team, the entire league has been wondering where he will go.
One of the proposed destinations has been Portland.
Again and again, there has been talk of Simmons ending up in the Rose City, either playing alongside Lillard or playing in exchange for him.
The chances of them playing together in Portland seems slim since Philly is asking for so much.
More specifically, Philadelphia is actually asking for Lillard himself in order to get Simmons.
Lillard is the type of player that Philly would gladly trade for.
Indeed, the 76ers have been very interested in acquiring Lillard – some have even said they are holding out in hopes that Lillard decides to jump ship and move elsewhere.
The Philadelphia 76ers are searching for a return package headlined by a player from the ‘Damian Lillard/Shai Gilgeous-Alexander tier’ in a Ben Simmons trade, per @TheSteinLine pic.twitter.com/R88D7EXz5j
— NBA Central (@TheNBACentral) December 11, 2021
But if it’s not someone at the same level of Lillard, Philly isn’t interested.
Now any chance of a trade of Simmons for Lillard – or anything along those lines – is not happening.
Lillard is going to be out for at least six weeks which is a long, long time in the world of the NBA – and well after the trade deadline next month.
Any trade talks around Lillard will be completely halted while he’s gone.
Since he’s the only trade asset that Philadelphia would be interested in, Simmons isn’t hearing westward any time soon.
Does This Hurt Or Help Portland?
Some people are thinking that Lillard’s injury might actually help Portland in its quest to keep the star point guard.
This injury is pretty devastating and is taking Lillard out of rotation for a while and is diminishing Portland’s chance of making it into the postseason.
But it’s also not the Blazers’ fault.
This might lead to Lillard cutting the team a little bit of slack since his absence has nothing to do with the team’s poor management or tattered roster.
So maybe he will decide that he can give the team a bit more time to formulate a team around him that can win.
You can expect that talks of trading pretty much everyone else on the Blazers will only grow louder in the weeks without Lillard.
The team might not have a shot at Simmons for the time being but they can probably land a couple of other promising young players – if they are willing to commit to losing just about everyone in the lineup whose last name isn’t Lillard.