Some might think the roadblock in the trade of James Harden and Damian Lillard are linked but they don’t appear to be.
The Sixers have shown interest in Lillard and many insiders have proposed that the franchise could replace Harden with Dame.
But the main roadblock to a Lillard trade is young star Tyrese Maxey since the 76ers refuse to move him for anyone, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst says.
“[The 76ers] want you to know that you can’t have Tyrese Maxey,” Windhorst said on the Hoop Collective podcast on July 3. “Prime Michael Jordan is available? Don’t call. 25-year-old LeBron James is available? Lose our number. Giannis Antetokounmpo says, ‘I want to be a Sixer,’ if Tyrese Maxey is the ask, just keep walking. Tyrese Maxey, I have been assured, will not be traded.”
Windhorst shared similar sentiments on Sportscenter on the same day.
“Of the available pieces that you see on the board that could be offered for Dame Lillard, I think (Tyrese) Maxey is the prime piece,” Windhorst said. “And again, if Philadelphia was making that offer, Dame Lillard might be in Philly right now. But they are not. They are pulling back from that.”
Clearly, Philly see a future with the developing star who is coming off the best season early in his three-year NBA career.
The 22-year-old averaged 20.3 points, 3.5 assists and 2.9 rebounds on 48.1 percent shooting from the field and a very impressive 43.4 percent from 3-point range.
One NBA writer, Eric Pincus of B/R has suggested a trade that would solve both the Harden and Lillard dilemmas in one fell swoop.
“The Philadelphia 76ers are dealing with Harden wanting a trade. Of the few players in the NBA who can match his star power, Lillard’s among them. With Harden and one additional player (Jaden Springer, Furkan Korkmaz, Danuel House Jr., etc.), the 76ers can get enough outgoing salary to match Lillard,” Pincus wrote.
A three-team trade involving the Clippers, Blazers and Sixers could also solve the issue, as long as LA could come up with some solid assets and future draft picks for Portland.