Ben Simmons is still a Sixer, but might have a willing partner.

Damian Lillard.

Lillard wants changes to the Trail Blazers roster in Portland and one player he is willing to pair up with according to The Athletic is Simmons.

Multiple sources have told The Athletic that Lillard would like to play with Philadelphia 76ers three-time All-Star Ben Simmons. The Trail Blazers’ league-worst defense would instantly improve, and sharing a backcourt with a non-shooter could work given Lillard’s high-volume usage.

One reason Lillard might be willing to pair up with Simmons? The Blazers rank 30th in defensive rating and Simmons is one of the top defensive players in the NBA.  Another reason?  Lillard has to be watching Steph Curry and Draymond Green working together in Golden State and wondering if he and Simmons could duplicate that in Portland.

So is there a deal to be made between the Sixers and Blazers?

Sources say the Trail Blazers, under Olshey, discussed the framework of a trade for Simmons, moving CJ McCollum, a first-round draft pick and a young player such as Nassir Little or Anfernee Simons to Philadelphia. The 76ers, sources said, at one point asked the Trail Blazers for McCollum and multiple draft picks and multiple draft swaps, which Portland rejected.

So would Daryl Morey pull the trigger on a deal that involves McCollum, who is scoring 20.6 points per game and connecting on 39.6% of his three's, and Simons who would certainly find a role in the Sixers rotation.

With Blazers GM Neil Olshey out, there might be a new conversation to have between these two teams that certainly need a shakeup.

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