Anfernee Simons drawing interest from teams, Blazers adamant in keeping him
With NBA free agency just around the corner, the internet and NBA Twitter are thick with unsubstantiated rumors and reports from various sources. However, one interesting piece of news has the ring of truth to it regarding Anfernee Simons and the Portland Trail Blazers.
Per Keith Smith of Yahoo, teams have been “calling” the Blazers about the 20-year-old’s availability via trade:
Hearing that teams have been calling Portland to see about Anfrernee Simons and told no. One source told me "It's not that he's fully off-limits, but they made it clear they won't just throw him in a deal. No one is stealing Simons from the Blazers. They love him."
— Keith Smith (@KeithSmithNBA) June 29, 2019
Simons only played in 20 games for the Blazers last season as an extremely raw rookie who skipped college in order to hone his craft and prepare for the draft at IMG Academy.
For much of the year, Simons was believed to be a fringe lottery pick, but the Blazers were able to nab him at #24 overall in the 2018 NBA Draft. Simons played the entirety of the 2018-19 season at 19 years old, meaning he has plenty of upside still left to explore.
Of course, Simons didn’t really get to play much, that is, until the final game of the regular season, which the Blazers were apparently trying to lose. Instead of trotting out the usual lineups, the Blazers only played 6 players in that game. Three of them (Simons, Jake Layman and Gary Trent) played all 48 minutes.
Due to that unexpected glut of minutes, Simons responded with one of the best games any rookie played during the 2018-19 season, putting up 37 points on 13 of 21 shooting (7 of 11 from deep), with 9 assists and 6 rebounds.
Certainly, teams should be interested in a player who’s able to produce numbers like that, but as Smith’s reporting entailed, it might take an asset coming back for Simons to be traded.