Dame is not happy in Portland
Dame's loyalty to Portland cannot be questioned. He chose to stay despite several chances to join superteams which could help him win a championship or at least compete for it. Now, he is nowhere near winning or competing for it in Portland. Sitting at the 10th spot in Western Conference with an 11-13 record is not what Dame envisioned when he decided to stay this year, despite an offseason recruitment pitch by LeBron James to join the Lakers. Just how much has the situation got out of hand? Now, reports say Lillard wants some front office and roster changes.
A report published by Basketball News cited an article written by Shams Charania and Sam Amick for The Athletic, which mentioned a plan to pair Ben Simmons with Lillard in exchange for CJ McCollum, several young players.
"Sources say the Trail Blazers, under Olshey, discussed the framework of a trade for Simmons, moving CJ McCollum, a first-round draft pick and a young player such as Nassir Little or Anfernee Simons to Philadelphia. The 76ers, sources said, at one point asked the Trail Blazers for McCollum and multiple draft picks and multiple draft swaps, which Portland rejected."
Now, there is no assurance this deal would still push through because Neil Olshey has been fired. So whoever the next president of basketball operations for Portland is should prioritize managing the locker room that had been tension-filled for the team's lackluster performance this season.
Will Dame request a trade soon?
The Athletic article detailed that the 6-time All-Star wanted a coach with experience. Bringing in Chauncey Billups, a player who won it all but a newbie as a coach, proved to be a disaster so far. Unfortunately, Dame's numbers are down, and his efficiency has gone down, too. That means Billups is not using his star point guard the right way.
Another issue is how McCollum's name has been floated in the swap with Simmons. The 76ers or other teams would want either Dame of CJ in exchange for other star players. Portland's willingness to deal CJ means the management appears to be ready to break the team and focus on making Dame happy.
Simmons liked an Instagram post saying that the Portland star wants to play with him. Will it happen this year or the next? Ben keeps himself in shape by practicing away from the team, citing mental health problems as to why he still has not returned to play for the 76ers despite the fines.
Will Dame finally force his trade out of Portland? With the way things are going, it seems it's not a matter of if but when.