Throughout the entire Ben Simmons trade saga, the Sixers have had their sights set on one key target. That's Portland Trail Blazers point guard Damian Lillard.
As many speculated Lillard would soon request a trade to move on from Portland, the 76ers became a team consistently linked to the veteran All-Star.
But at this point, Lillard's made it pretty clear he's going to give the Blazers a shot to start the season. And if he does grow a desire to move on at some point, there's a chance he could still want to avoid Philadelphia if the Blazers' front office allows the superstar guard to have a say in the matter.
FS1 host Chris Broussard believes Lillard's potential interest in the 76ers isn't as high as everybody has been led to believe. On First Things First earlier this week, Broussard addressed the Ben Simmons situation in Philly and dished in his two cents on Lillard's situation as well.
“Damian Lillard is not gonna force his way out just yet, and I don’t think he’s as high on him in Philly as the rest of us are," Broussard said after addressing Simmons' mindset. "I think he’s higher on New York in the East than he is on Philly because he’s not that keen on going to somebody else’s team.”
It's unclear whether Lillard would have an issue with "going to somebody else's team" or not. If that were an issue, though, that would be tough for the Sixers, who have made it clear that Joel Embiid is the face of the franchise.
While the Knicks have a budding star in Julius Randle, Lillard would certainly be the most prominent player in the Knicks' locker room if he were traded to New York.
Regardless of how Lillard feels about the Sixers or the Knicks, neither franchise is getting the star guard anytime soon. As Lillard intends to start the 2021-2022 season in Portland, inquiring teams will have to wait it out and see how the Blazers start the season before they have any shot at landing Lillard.
Justin Grasso covers the Philadelphia 76ers for Sports Illustrated. You can follow him for live updates on Twitter: @JGrasso_.