NBA Rumors: Proposed Sixers-Blazers Deal Forms 'Big 3' Of Damian Lillard, Joel Embiid & James Harden In Philly

Damian Lillard taking a free throw
Wikimedia | TaurusEmerald

JB Baruelo

The Philadelphia 76ers could be one of the most active teams on the trade market in the 2022 NBA offseason. The Sixers may have just acquired James Harden at the 2022 NBA trade deadline, but they were still unable to achieve their main goal in the 2021-22 NBA season. After suffering a second-round exit in the 2022 NBA Playoffs, Sixers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey is expected to be more aggressive in upgrading their roster around Joel Embiid this summer.

Potential Offseason Target - Damian Lillard

Damian Lillard making plays for the Trail Blazers
Wikimedia | TaurusEmerald

In the past months, the Sixers continue to be linked to several big names who could become available on the trading block in the 2022 NBA offseason. One of the dream trade targets for the Sixers is All-Star point guard Damian Lillard of the Portland Trail Blazers. The Trail Blazers are yet to make Lillard available on the trading block but if they fail to show him a clear path to title contention this summer, most people believe that he would strongly consider finding his way out of Portland. Once he expresses his desire to leave, the Trail Blazers would be left with no choice but to listen to offers for him on the market.

Hypothetical Blockbuster Trade

Damian Lillard preparing to attack the basket
Wikimedia | Doppelganger.decoy

Though they gave up a plethora of precious trade assets to acquire Harden from the Brooklyn Nets, the Sixers could still come up with an intriguing offer should Lillard and the Trail Blazers decide to part ways this summer. In a recent article, Greg Patuto of NBA Analysis Network came up with a hypothetical blockbuster trade idea that would enable the Sixers to get Lillard from the Trail Blazers. In the proposed trade scenario, the Sixers would be sending a trade package that includes Tyrese Maxey, Tobias Harris, Charles Bassey, Jaden Springer, a 2024 first-round pick, and a 2026 first-round pick to the Trail Blazers in exchange for Lillard.

Damian Lillard Forms 'Big 3' With Embiid & Harden

Damian Lillard going to the locker room
Wikimedia | Phillypaboy123

Giving up all those assets would be a difficult decision for Morey and the Sixers, but it's something that they should strongly consider if they are serious about maximizing the championship window of Embiid. By sacrificing Maxey and other precious trade assets, the Sixers would be acquiring a more proven superstar who would form a "Big 3" with Embiid and Harden and help them carry the team in the 2022-23 NBA season.

It would still take time for Lillard, Embiid, and Harden to mesh well on the court but once they find the perfect chemistry and manage to stay away from any major injury, it would undoubtedly strengthen the Sixers' chances of fully dominating the Eastern Conference and capturing the Larry O'Brien Trophy next year.

Blazers Enter Rebuilding Mode

Tyrese Maxey trying to grab the rebound
Wikimedia | GhostRiver

The proposed blockbuster deal would be a no-brainer for the Trail Blazers, especially if Lillard is no longer happy with the team. Instead of keeping a disgruntled superstar on their roster, the suggested trade would enable them to swap Lillard for assets that they need to undergo a rebuilding process. The biggest prize that the Trail Blazers would get from trading Lillard is Maxey.

Maxey still has plenty of things that he needs to improve in his game but this season, he has shown huge superstar potential and proven that he's ready to become a starter in the league. Patuto believes that pairing Maxey with Anfernee Simons would give the Trail Blazers a "strong foundation to build around" in the post-Lillard era.