It's mid-September and Damian Lillard is yet to be traded. Training camp is nearing at the start of October, but until then there isn't much else to talk about in the NBA world so there are going to be a lot of rumors and reports, both credible and uncredible, flying around.
Here's the latest, and it's credible, as it comes from ESPN's Bobby Marks, who said in a recent roundtable, "the only way Portland engages Philadelphia in trade talks is if [Tyrese] Maxey is involved, but Philadelphia has shown no inclination to move its young guard."
For full context, here's the hypothetical three-team trade between the Blazers, Sixers and Clippers that Marks and his ESPN colleagues discussed:
If I'm the Sixers, I do this deal. Putting Lillard, who is much better than James Harden at this point, next to Joel Embiid, and replacing Tobias Harris with Norman Powell and Terance Mann, makes you a significantly better team.
If I'm the Blazers, I'm not sure. Maxey is better than Herro with more upside and better trade value, but the difference between the two isn't that great. Miami's package that would almost surely include Nikola Jovic and Jaime Jaquez Jr. (plus two first-round picks and some swaps) gives Portland far more young talent and is a better total deal.
Joe Cronin would really have to believe Maxey was worth passing on two extra young prospects, which would be strange given Portland's commitment to Scoot Henderson. You're not winning long term with Maxey and Henderson. That's too small a backcourt. As it stands, Anfernee Simons is probably already going to have to be traded at some point, but that's another discussion I suppose.
At any rate, if it's really the Sixers who are hesitant to include Maxey in a possible Lillard trade, and the Blazers really would come to the table if Maxey were on it, Daryl Morey is making a mistake. Maxey is a good player with All-Star potential, but this is Damian Lillard and Joel Embiid we're talking about. Morey would never have a better chance to win a title in Philly than with that duo and a strong supporting cast around it.