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Sixers in fight for top Simmons replacement; star drops $60m hint: NBA Rumour Mill

Sixers in fight for top Simmons replacement; star drops $60m hint: NBA Rumour Mill

The NBA Finals are over and now attention turns to next season and the rapidly approaching free agency period.

The offseason has already been underway for a few weeks in Philadelphia and all the talk is about what the future holds for Ben Simmons.

The three-time All-Star is reportedly on the trade table although the Sixers are quite firm that they want an All-Star in return.

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At the top of the list would be Portland Trail Blazers superstar Damian Lillard.

According to The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor, the Sixers are aggressively going after the 31-year old but they are not the only team doing so.

In fact, O’Connor reports that there are five teams actively pursuing Lillard.

“Few team executives expect a Dame deal to happen this offseason. But multiple front-office sources say the Heat, Kings, Knicks, Rockets, and Sixers have recently been the most aggressive suitors,” he wrote.

“Front-office executives say that if the Blazers eventually move Lillard, they can expect a return rivalling or surpassing what the Nets gave up for James Harden: multiple young players, plus three first-round picks and four first-round pick swaps.”

While rumours have been swirling, Lillard denied claims he will soon ask for a trade but admitted to being torn on his future.

“Right now I’m not sure what I’m going to do. What I can say is my intentions and my heart has always been set on being in a Trail Blazers uniform for my entire career,” Lillard said after Team USA practice last week.

“But I think over time, you want to win it all. And I want to win it all in a Trail Blazers uniform. But we all have to be making strides toward that.”


Like the Sixers, the Los Angeles Lakers bowed out of the playoffs in disappointing fashion.

The Lakers too are looking to make changes over the off-season and the main priority is adding a veteran point guard.

There are two big names reportedly on the list - Chris Paul and Russell Westbrook.

That is according to The Undefeated’s Marc Spears, who writes that Westbrook could move back to L.A. on a sign-and-trade deal including free agent point guard Dennis Schroder, forward Kyle Kuzma and guard Talen Horton-Tucker.

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Westbrook helped lead the Washington Wizards to their first playoffs appearance since 2018 last season, averaging 22.2 points, 11.7 assists and 11.5 rebounds.

One of the Lakers’ biggest issues in recent years has been maintaining the offence with LeBron James off the floor.

Westbrook could help fill the void given his strong playmaking abilities.

It is hard though to see the Wizards trading him away, having acquired Westbrook for John Wall and a future first-round pick.

In Bradley Beal and Westbrook Washington has a solid core to build around.

Westbrook is owed $44 million next season ($A60m) and has a $47 million ($A64m) player option for the 2022-23 season.

If Westbrook is going to be hard to secure, what about Paul?


Well, Paul’s quest for his first championship ring ended Wednesday night when his Suns lost Game 6 of the NBA Finals 105-98 in Milwaukee.

The point guard had a chance to say he couldn’t wait to return to Phoenix for another chance at a title.

The 36-year-old didn’t quite say that, but gave a hint he would prefer to stay for a second season after guiding the Suns to unprecedented heights.

Paul reportedly is leaning toward opting out of the $44 million ($A60m) final season of his contract to try for a three-year deal. But perhaps this Finals disappointment will change that view.

“We just lost a few minutes ago, you know what I mean?’’ Paul said.

“Right now we’re going to process this and figure this out. I think everything else will take care of itself.

“I’ll take some time to think about that, but right now you’re just trying to figure out what you could have done more. It’s tough.

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“Great group of guys, hell of a season, but this one is going to hurt for a while. We sort of saw what it takes to get there and hopefully we see what it takes to get past that.’’

That sounds as if Paul feels he still has a future in Phoenix.

Paul had a strong Game 6, with 26 points and five assists, shooting 11-for-18 to keep the Suns close.

His backcourt partner in crime, Devin Booker, cost the Suns a chance to bring the series back to Phoenix for a Game 7. He seemed to lack confidence all night and had his shot blocked on a few occasions.

Booker finished with just 19 points, shooting 0-for-7 from 3-point range and committing six turnovers.

Booker, who was headed to Tokyo to join the Olympic team a matter of hours after the loss, sounded as if he believes he and Paul will have another shot at the championship next season.

“We supported Chris all the way, he led us this whole entire season and this is our first year together,’’ Booker said.

“So just developing a relationship, developing a trust amongst each other throughout the whole season and … for it to fall short like this it’s tough on all of us.’’

- New York Post

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