Once again, the Philadelphia 76ers have had a disappointing close to a disappointing season.
They finished third in the Eastern Conference and seemed to have their best chance yet to win their first NBA championship since 1983, only to surrender a 3–2 series lead in the second round of the playoffs to the Boston Celtics. For.
The team has been criticized by many as a result – Joel Embiid hasn’t played like the league’s MVP, James Harden is unreliable in the big games, and Doak Rivers should probably be fired.
But perhaps the team’s biggest need is a closer.
Nick Wright of Fox Sports 1 says the Sixers should let Harden walk and do whatever it takes to acquire Damian Lillard from the Portland Trail Blazers.
“If I were the 76ers, I’d let James Harden go. And I’d put as many eggs in the Damian Lillard basket as possible — Maxie, Tobias, whatever you have.”
— First things first (@FTFonFS1) May 15, 2023
In Game 7 of the Boston series, both Embiid and Harden played poorly, and it is clear that the Sixers need something to get over the hump.
They haven’t reached the Eastern Conference Finals since 2001, despite the presence of Embiid, who has gone from great to dominant over the years.
Lillard is a proven big-game player who loves to take big shots in opposing teams’ faces, and he is a very skilled guard who could bring stability to Philadelphia.
The problem is that he has been reluctant to leave Portland, even though Portland has failed to build a winning team around him over the years.
But if Lillard comes to his senses and asks, Wright thinks Philly can put together a lucrative trade package centered around forward Tobias Harris and young sophomore Tyrese Maxi.
At least on paper, Lillard seems like the type of player who could put the Sixers over the top.
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