Mere hours after The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported that Portland Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard had designs on teaming up with Simmons in the Pacific Northwest, Philly’s embattled floor general liked an Instagram post from Bleacher Report hyping the story.
That may not be the equivalent of Simmons coming out and saying he wants to be a Blazer, but it is generating headlines nonetheless. And, in the eyes of many, there’s an obvious deal to be made between the two clubs that would bring CJ McCollum to the City of Brotherly Love
However, the Sixers don’t appear to share the same enthusiasm for the trade.
Neubeck: Sixers ‘Not Currently Interested’ in McCollum
Although Lillard is the player Sixers fans would like to see playing for their team — and Daryl Morey is said to covet him — the McCollum chatter has been ongoing since the summer, and not just among fans, either. Per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, Lillard’s camp was on that bandwagon, too.
According to PhillyVoice’s Kyle Neubeck, though, Morey and Co. are aiming higher than McCollum. He writes:
A bit of important reporting we will try not to bury in a recap — a source familiar with the situation spoke to PhillyVoice on Monday evening and said the Sixers have had no recent discussions with Portland regarding a CJ McCollum trade, and a package centered around the Blazers’ guard is not currently of interest to the Sixers.
Meanwhile, ESPN’s Zach Lowe reported on the December 7 episode of his podcast, The Lowe Post, that “Philly has just been Dame or nothing” where a Simmons trade is concerned.
Neubeck noted that the Sixers are expected to continue having conversations with teams leading up to December 15 when a number of players will have their trade restrictions lifted. However, if McCollum is “not currently of interest” to Philly, it’s difficult to imagine him catching the team’s eye later.
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McCollum & Lillard’s Relationship Is Still Running Strong
Despite rumblings that Lillard would be A-OK if the Blazers used McCollum to procure Simmons, McCollum believes that his backcourt mate is still in his corner.
“If he wanted me to leave, I think he would say that,” McCollum said, via The Athletic. “He’s not speaking on me behind closed doors because that’s not in his DNA. He’s not built like that. He’s solid, and I know his word is his bond.”
He added that the two have “a good relationship,” while making it clear that he places little stock in stories that haven’t come from the man himself.
“I think when Dame speaks, you hear him. When you hear ‘sources’ and ‘anonymous’, I don’t necessarily know if that is Dame or not, because it’s not Dame putting his name on it. He generally puts his name on things.