NBA

Damian Lillard shoots down 76ers fans chants: ‘I’m 10 toes in Rip City’

Damian Lillard 76ers
Damian Lillard
Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Portland Trail Blazers point guard Damian Lillard certainly did not receive the usual Philadelphia treatment a visiting player experiences when he plays the 76ers.

In fact, it was quite the opposite.

Sixers fans, holding out hope that they can acquire a star point guard not named Ben Simmons, cheered for Lillard as he was introduced on Monday night before a Philadelphia 113-103 victory over Portland.

Philadelphia 76ers guard Tyrese Maxey (0) moves against Portland Trail Blazers guard Anfernee Simons (1) during the fourth quarter at Wells Fargo Center.Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Those very same fans then chanted “we want Lillard” while he was at the free-throw line.

The adoration stems from the hope that the 76ers can finally unload Simmons — who continues to mire the organization in controversy after returning to their ranks. This coming after a summer in which he demanded a trade — in which Sixers president Daryl Morey had been searching for — while promising he’d never play in Philadelphia again.

Of course, Simmons did return to the team before the regular season began but was promptly thrown out of his second practice, suspended, and then stepped away from the team while admitting he wasn’t ready to suit up for them.

In many Sixers fans’ perfect world, he’ll never have to suit up in the red, white, and blue again as Morey would finally be able to find the difference-making trade piece that could spark the long-anticipated swap.

Lillard, who has said in the past that he wants out of Portland, would be the exact kind of talent the 76ers would need to put the wheels of a trade in motion involving Simmons.

The 31-year-old point guard is a six-time All-Star averaging 24.6 points and 6.6 assists per game over his 10-year career.

While the chants flattered Lillard, he wasn’t adding any more fuel to the fire that is the NBA rumor mill.

“Yeah, I heard it. I mean, it’s the City of Brotherly Love, I guess,” he said. “They showed the brother some love. They showed me some love, but that was it… I thought that was funny. That comes with professional sports. It’s fun, it’s a public thing, so I’m not uptight about it or acting like I don’t recognize it.

“I know what it is and I know what it’s about. But I’m a Trail Blazer. I appreciate the love. I appreciate the respect that they showed and the desire or whatever but I’m 10 toes in Rip City, and I’ve said that time and time again and tonight I laughed about it during starting lineups but that was that.”

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