Anfernee Simons ‘untouchable’ according to NBA insider. He shouldn’t be.
Whether or not the Portland Trail Blazers should try to make a splash at this year’s NBA trade deadline is debatable. Is there a deal out there that would make the Blazers contenders? Should they trade players away to add future assets?
Part of this hot-button topic is what to do with Anfernee Simons.
The 23-year-old guard has evolved into one of Portland’s go-to offensive options. He’s averaging a career high in minutes, points, shot attempts, 3-point attempts, free throw attempts, free throw percentage, rebounds, and assists.
In short, the 6-foot-3 IMG Academy product has become one of the Blazers best and most important players.
But that, coupled with his palatable four-year, $100 million contract, also make him perhaps Portland’s best trade asset. If there’s a significant deal to be made before the Feb. 9 deadline, Simons is likely to be at the heart of it.
But TNT NBA insider Chris Haynes recently reported the Blazers consider Simons “virtually untouchable” in a radio interview with Rip City Radio 620.
So the question is this: Has Simons’ improvement this season, along with his age and contract, guaranteed him a spot in Portland’s future?
The simple answer is no.
Anfernee Simons should not be considered untouchable by the Portland Trail Blazers
Haynes added his own opinion in the interview, stating that if the Blazers have a possible deal in place that would help the team and includes Simons, it would be wise for the front office to consider it.
That seems obvious, but maybe not to everybody if Portland’s starting two-guard has reportedly been deemed untradeable.
Three scenarios could play out before the end of business on Feb. 9, and there’s a good chance Simons is involved in two of them (the third being doing absolutely nothing, leaving the roster as is, and playing out the rest of the season).
Scenario 1: The Blazers look to upgrade the roster.
If Portland wants to make a huge splash for someone like Pascal Siakam or his teammate OG Anunoby – someone who will move the needle in a serious way and get the team closer to contender status – Simons would be included.
Scenario 2: The Blazers decide to sell and stock up on future assets.
In an ideal world, Portland could do this and keep Simons. But if the front office wants to add some future first-round picks, again Ant could be the best option.
In the right deal, Jusuf Nurkic could maybe fetch a late, protected first. That’s not nothing, but the chances of a pick like that becoming a potential franchise player are exceedingly slim.
Among the remaining assets the Blazers have to trade in this scenario: Damian Lillard isn’t going anywhere; holding onto Jerami Grant and trying to re-sign him is a much better option than trading him; and Shaedon Sharpe is as untouchable as it gets unless he can net Portland a true, all-NBA caliber superstar.
Simons has shown legitimate improvement as a secondary option next to Lillard in the backcourt. But his fit isn’t perfect, much like C.J. McCollum before him.
So if Portland wants to upgrade somewhere on the roster, Simons would likely be on his way out. If the Blazers continue to slide down the Western Conference standings and begin to focus on a lottery pick rather than the postseason, dealing Simons for another first-round selection, now or in the future, would be a smart play.
Regardless, Simons isn’t untouchable. In fact, he should be one of the first names tossed out if Portland wants to make a move that counts.