Following the Philadelphia 76ers' 2021 NBA Playoff run, Ben Simmons and his camp told the Sixers' front office they would like a fresh start on a new team. The Sixers didn't reject Simmons' request entirely as they opened up the opportunity for teams to make offers, which Sixers President of Basketball Operations Daryl Morey seemed underwhelmed by.
Considering Simmons is a 25-year-old three-time All-Star and Defensive Player of the Year runner-up, the Sixers want a lot in return for the young star -- especially since he has multiple seasons left on his current contract.
But following another disappointing second-round series in the postseason, Simmons' value has never been lower. That hasn't forced Daryl Morey to switch his stance, though. Morey has reportedly told teams throughout the offseason that he wants several young and valuable players along with several first-round picks in return for Simmons if they can't offer up another All-Star caliber player in his prime.
It became clear the Sixers were never totally interested in taking on a package of young players and picks. Instead, they were shooting for the star(s). As Damian Lillard was rumored to be requesting a trade from the Portland Trail Blazers, the Sixers were ready to be first in line for the superstar sweepstakes.
Lillard never requested a trade from Portland, despite his concerns about the Blazers front office's ability to surround him with players that could help them become contenders. The chances of the Sixers landing Lillard in a Simmons-centric trade are slim -- but Sam Amick of The Athletic still considers that Daryl Morey's dream scenario at this point in the offseason.
"Morey has made it clear, both then and now, that he has extremely high expectations for the eventual return on a Simmons deal. I get it, for sure, as we’re talking about a three-time All-Star and one-time All-NBA player.
But as you both know, and has been said and written about plenty of times, the Lillard-for-Simmons swap with Portland that is widely seen as Morey’s dream scenario just isn’t realistic. Not yet, anyway.
'You’re waiting on a prayer,' the source said of the Lillard scenario."
Damian Lillard has proven many times he is extremely loyal to the Portland Trail Blazers. Although there were signs of the guard finally giving in this offseason, Lillard ultimately made it apparent that he didn't intend to ask for a way out.
Could Lillard's stance on the Blazers change if they get off to an underwhelming start to the 2021-2022 season? Anything is possible. However, the Sixers probably have a better chance of getting Ben Simmons back in a 76ers uniform than landing Lillard in a trade for the 25-year-old All-Star.
Justin Grasso covers the Philadelphia 76ers for Sports Illustrated. You can follow him for live updates on Twitter: @JGrasso_.