The Portland Trail Blazers currently have a lot going on. After the organization led a private investigation centered on their longtime President of Basketball Operations, they've decided to fire Neil Olshey based on what they've found.
For the time being, Portland's Director of Player Personnel Joe Cronin has been promoted to become the team's interim General Manager as they search for a long-term replacement. In addition to Olshey's firing, the Blazers have been off to a rough start under first-year head coach Chauncey Billups.
In their first 24 games of the 2021-2022 NBA season, Portland has achieved a losing record of 11-13. They've gone 5-5 in their last ten games and have been awful on the road as they've won just one of their 11 games away from home.
With the way everything's gone down in Portland so far this season, many believe it's only a matter of time before the Blazers begin to unload players to shake up the roster. For a team like the Sixers, that could become an ideal scenario.
Over the offseason, the 76ers received word from their 25-year-old All-Star point guard Ben Simmons that he would like a fresh start. The 76ers had a few targets in mind at that point, with Damian Lillard being perhaps the most desirable one.
But Lillard would never request a trade from Portland. As the loyal superstar wanted to feel this year's roster out, he made it clear that he's going to start the season with the Blazers. However, as the front office is changing and the current roster is struggling to look like a playoff contender, it could only be a matter of time before Lillard realizes he needs a fresh start.
In that case, the Sixers would undoubtedly have an interest in trying to trade for Lillard. However, Portland would likely offer Lillard a say in his next destination if he were to request a trade. In that case, Philly might not have any advantage as ESPN's Stephen A. Smith suggests that Lillard would prefer the New York Knicks over the Sixers, according to Kyle Neubeck of The Philly Voice.
That wasn't the first time it's been suggested Lillard would prefer to play in New York if he were to request a trade. Back in September, FS1's Chris Broussard reported that Lillard might not be high on the Sixers as a potential landing spot for himself and would probably prefer the Knicks over anybody else.
Now, Stephen A. Smith is saying something similar a few months later. While Lillard could definitely change his mind with a little bit of convincing from his camp if a trade request does come up, the Portland superstar still hasn't told the Blazers he wants out just yet. Therefore, the Sixers, Knicks, and anybody else waiting on Lillard to become available will have to remain patient for the time being.
Justin Grasso covers the Philadelphia 76ers for Sports Illustrated. You can follow him for live updates on Twitter: @JGrasso_.