Adding to the whirlwind of the 2023 NBA Free Agency, All-Star guard Damian Lillard has finally dropped the inevitable hammer, officially requesting a trade from the Portland Trail Blazers to mark the end of his 11-year tenure with the franchise.
The Philadelphia 76ers are not among Lillard’s preferred destinations according to Yahoo Sports’ Vincent Goodwill, with Dame’s camp itself having sternly indicated that the Miami Heat and the Brooklyn Nets stand as his lone desired clubs at this juncture.
Can the 76ers shoehorn themselves into the Damian Lillard sweepstakes?
That being said, the 76ers will reportedly not cave into Lillard’s express intent and stow themselves away from the sweepstakes, with ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski listing Philadelphia among other teams expected to be in play for the seven-time All-Star’s services.
Admittedly, the odds of the 76ers landing Lillard appear to be very low, as dangling away, say, James Harden in a star swap will be an unfair exchange in view of the former’s significant roster control compared to the latter’s status as a flight risk.
However, Philly could try to pull the strings and entice the Trail Blazers brass by sending out Tobias Harris’ expiring contract while absorbing Jerami Grant’s new lucrative deal, which now significantly wanes in in-house value following Lillard’s trade request.
For now, the Philadelphia 76ers are on the outside looking in with Miami and Brooklyn clearly viewed as the frontrunners to land the superstar guard, though they have some options in play if they want to make an aggressive pursuit and complete a grand retooling heading into next season.