The 76ers may become a new-look side next season if they can’t make a deep playoffs run and one NBA Insider is predicting a blockbuster trade to replace James Harden should that happen.
Philly have been impressive this season after securing third seed in the East and are facing a fair bit of playoff pressure, especially after falling short in previous seasons.
Rumors of a Harden to Houston reunion over the summer have been circulating since December, which could definitely come into play if the Sixers fail to live up to expectations.
If that does happen, NBA Insider Nick Wright believes the Sixers will try to complete a trade for Blazers veteran Damian Lillard for next season.
“The most pressure in the East is on Philly because they’ve never been to a Conference Finals, let alone a Finals, and there are those odd murmurs that James Harden might leave and go back to Houston,” Wright said on The Herd with Colin Cowherd. “If they flame out in the postseason, it could be a tough offseason for Philadelphia. I’m sure they would try to trade for Dame and remake the team that way.”
Lillard has been pretty loyal up to this point but he did make some pretty interesting comments a few days ago, telling reporters: “I don’t have much of an appetite for building with guys two and three years away and not really go after it.”
The Athletic’s Jason Quick reported that the TrailBlazers’ front office is considering a trade to build around the six-time All-Star.
“About the only clarity in the Blazers’ path forward is this: The Blazers will likely trade their lottery pick unless they land the No. 1 pick (they have a 10.5 percent chance), which would give them the right to draft who many are calling a generational star in French big man Victor Wembanyama,” Quick wrote. “Lillard all but etched in stone the trade-the-pick path Sunday when he said he did not want the Blazers to draft another young player. He said he wants proven veterans who can help now, not players who will need two to three years to develop.”
Either way, Lillard clearly wants the front office to act or a franchise like Philly may very well poach him.