By Johnny Askounis/ firstname.lastname@example.org
Damian Lillard would like Ben Simmons to become his teammate, according to Shams Charania and Sam Amick of The Athletic.
Simmons, 25, has yet to make an appearance in the 2021-22 NBA Regular Season. He briefly rejoined the Philadelphia 76ers in mid-October but subsequently resumed the holdout from the team. He had cited mental health issues leading to additional problems, including multiple fines for missing team activities and lack of cooperation.
The Melbourne-born player has been reported to recently reiterating his trade request. The Portland Trail Blazers were among the teams entering talks centered on Simmons during the initial trade request, early in the offseason. As noted in the latest report, recently-fired president of basketball operations and general manager Neil Olshey had discussed a possible deal involving CJ McCollum but to no avail. Assistant general manager Joe Cronin has since been promoted to the interim general manager position, as the Oregon franchise launched the search for a permanent replacement.
Lillard, 31, has been sidelined in recent games due to lower abdominal tendinopathy. He was up to 21.5 points, 7.8 assists, 4 assists, 0.7 steals, and 0.4 blocks per contest over 20 appearances. The Blazers barely holding on to a Play-In spot with the 11-13 W-L tally seems to have been testing his patience and prompting the desire for his team to pull the trigger on a blockbuster trade to bring in Simmons.
The 76ers have been forced into a similar situation at the Eastern Conference table. The team coached by Doc Rivers currently ranks ninth behind a 12-11 record.
Photo Credit: Getty Images