All offseason long, the Sixers have been willing to ship out Ben Simmons for the right price. One team that could land Ben Simmons and more is the Portland Trail Blazers. As the Blazers entered a critical offseason, many speculated that one or both of their key stars could get traded elsewhere in the offseason.
That led some to believe that Damian Lillard could finally find a new home in the NBA. As expected, the 76ers were intrigued. As Lillard would be a stellar addition to a Joel Embiid-led Sixers team, he became Daryl Morey's top target this summer.
At this point, it's become clear Lillard isn't going anywhere anytime soon. Now, the focus is getting shifted from Lillard to the next best thing out in Portland, CJ McCollum.
The 29-year-old guard might not have the amount of All-Star nods as his co-star, but he's averaged over 20 points per game for the last six seasons. As a career 40-percent shooter from beyond the arc, McCollum could be a solid addition to the Sixers' starting lineup. Therefore, Bleacher Report's Zach Buckley suggests the Sixers should go for McCollum as the chances of landing Lillard have vanished.
"Philly needs an offensive co-star for Joel Embiid. Portland needs an elite stopper to fix its 29th-ranked defense. This trade could finally scratch both itches, with the Sixers gaining a pair of first-round picks—the years of which would be determined by an outstanding lottery-protected pick owed to the Bulls—for the fact Simmons is younger, under contract longer and possesses a higher ceiling."
Landing McCollum and potentially more might not be the home run trade Daryl Morey envisioned, but it might be his best option if Lillard and Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal remained satisfied with their respective organizations.
The Sixers' starting lineup would take a hit defensively, but their offense could see a nice boost as McCollum brings a willingness to shoot and is consistent from the field. While Buckley suggests the Sixers and the Blazers should get a trade done before camp, the Sixers seem set on keeping Simmons on board for the time being as Morey continues to hold out hope for a big deal to come across his lap.
Justin Grasso covers the Philadelphia 76ers for Sports Illustrated. You can follow him for live updates on Twitter: @JGrasso_.