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Stein: Sixers Want Lillard, Not McCollum, for Ben Simmons

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The veteran analyst says that Daryl Morey isn’t interested in anything but the best in return for his All-Star.

Philadelphia 76ers v Atlanta Hawks - Game Six Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

As NBA trade rumors swirl at the approach of the new trade and free agency season, Philadelphia 76ers All-Star Ben Simmons remains at the top of the rumor list. The suddenly ill-fitting phenom has been linked with several teams, including the Portland Trail Blazers. Blazers fans have speculated heavily about acquiring Simmons for a trade package centering around scoring guard CJ McCollum. In his latest substack, NBA analyst Marc Stein suggests that Portlanders shouldn’t be holding their breath. If Daryl Morey, Philly’s President of Basketball Operations, wants any Blazers player, it’s going to be Damian Lillard, not McCollum.

Stein says:

All teams covet the biggest stars, but Morey is especially obsessive about it. He will surely tune out the naysayers who suggest Simmons can no longer be the centerpiece for the acquisition of a Bradley Beal-type superstar. Portland’s CJ McCollum has been mentioned often as a potential Sixers target in a Simmons deal; rest assured that Morey longs for Damian Lillard if he is targeting any Trail Blazer.

Stein cites the Kings, Cavaliers, Timberwolves, and Pacers as known suitors for Simmons’ services, with the Toronto Raptors thrown in as a strong possibility. He also says Morey would be willing to hold onto Simmons if a suitable deal isn’t forthcoming.