By CBS3 Staff

PHILADELPHIA (CBS)- Since the Sixers season ended in the second round with a heartbreaking Game 7 loss to the Atlanta Hawks, speculation about the future of the team and Ben Simmons in particular has kicked into high gear.  According to a report from Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer, the team is ‘hoping’ for a chance to acquire Damian Lillard, which would likely mean sending Simmons out West.

O’Connor’s column today focused on the Los Angeles Clippers and what that front office will look to do this offseason in the wake of falling short of the goal of making the NBA Finals once again. In writing about the potential trade options the Clippers could look into, O’Connor mentioned Ben Simmons while also dropping the information about the team’s interest in Lillard.

“There’s also Ben Simmons, the Sixers All-Star who spends nearly all of his off time in Los Angeles and would add a much-needed playmaking dimension to the Clippers. But regardless of the other pieces involved in a potential deal, would Leonard want to team up with Simmons after the latter’s disastrous postseason? Is that a deal the Sixers would want to make, when league sources say they’re also hoping for an opportunity to land Lillard?”

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Earlier this week, the Portland point guard was reported to be frustrated with the team’s recent coaching search and their inability to build a contending team around him. The report kicked off speculation about potential landing spots and the Sixers were installed as one of the favorites to land him if (and it’s a big if) Portland were willing to move him.

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Presumably, the price for Lillard would include Simmons who, despite his struggles in this year’s playoffs, is soon to be 25, a three-time All-Star and two-time NBA All-Defense first team selection. The question of what other assets would need to be included to pique the Trail Blazers interest remains.

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And, it’s worth pointing out that O’Connor’s wording “hoping for an opportunity” isn’t indicating that the Sixers have even begun talks with the Blazers. Instead it would imply that the Sixers, like most of the league’s 29 other teams, would be interested in acquiring the soon to be 31-year-old point guard if he becomes available.