Don’t hate the messenger. Tyrese Maxey’s name has come up in trade talks dating back to the 2022 trade deadline when the Sixers unloaded Ben Simmons for James Harden. They were able to hold on to their “untouchable” young star at that time and multiple reports have surfaced this offseason since saying that Maxey remains off-limits in any trade scenario.
Still, the conspiracy theorists out there think there’s a chance. Bleacher Report included the Sixers on a short list of teams that could string together a potential trade package for Damian Lillard. In it, they have James Harden “rerouted to a third team, probably the Clippers” while sending Maxey and “the few draft assets Philly has” to Portland in exchange for Lillard.
As tempting as the superstar duo of Joel Embiid and Damian Lillard would be to a Sixers’ franchise unapologetically in win-now mode, this trade doesn’t make much sense. For starters, Lillard only wants to be traded to the Miami Heat. He seems content to sit out the season if his demands aren’t met. And, secondly, Maxey is too valuable to the Sixers.
There is another further-down-the-road possibility that people are forgetting: Embiid could ask for a trade if everything falls apart. If that happens, Maxey instantly becomes the face of the franchise and the Sixers start a rebuilding process around their electrifying 6-foot-2 guard.