With Damian Lillard heading home from the Olympics, the most important part of the Sixers‘ offseason is getting under way, writes Derek Bodner of The Athletic. President of basketball operations Daryl Morey is hoping Lillard makes his long-rumored trade request to the Trail Blazers, and Bodner believes Philadelphia is in a good position if that happens.
Lillard held a press conference last month to deny a report that a trade request was imminent. However, he has expressed an urgency to Portland’s management about the need to improve the roster, and the Blazers’ most significant additions so far have been the free agent signings of Tony Snell, Cody Zeller, and Ben McLemore.
Bodner adds that two potential competitors for Lillard are less of a threat than they were a few weeks ago. The Knicks used their cap space without acquiring another star player, while the Heat added Kyle Lowry and are now facing a hard cap for the upcoming season. It would be virtually impossible for Miami to match Lillard’s $43.75MM salary in a trade anytime soon, according to Bodner.
There’s more from Philadelphia:
- The Sixers will receive a financial benefit now that George Hill has signed with the Bucks, tweets Bobby Marks of ESPN. Hill, who was waived by Philadelphia on Tuesday, received a two-year, $8MM contract in Milwaukee. The Sixers will get a $1.255MM set-off on the money they still owed Hill, which will take effect after the 2021/22 season.
- Rookie small forward Aaron Henry was more comfortable finding a team in free agency than he would have been as a late-round draft pick, per Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. Henry agreed to a two-way contract with the Sixers shortly after the draft ended and is ready to prove himself in Summer League. A quadriceps strain forced him to be held out of the combine in Chicago, but he worked out for 12 teams in 19 days. One of those sessions was with the Sixers, who liked what they saw. “Since we got him, you can see his versatility,” said assistant Brian Adams, who’s handling head coaching duties for the Summer League team. “He can defend multiple positions. He can defend one-on-one and in the schemes we have. He’s picked up everything really fast.”
- Sixers first-round pick Jaden Springer hopes to succeed with the same franchise that drafted his father in 1984, Pompey adds in a separate story. A knee injury prevented Gary Springer from playing in the NBA, but he believes his son has a bright future.