Blazers exercise contract options on Zach Collins, Anfernee Simons
Collins shined last season as a stretch big and a rim defender, posting 6.6 points, 4.2 rebounds, and 0.9 blocks in merely 17.6 minutes per game. Now with Al-Farouq Aminu and Meyers Leonard gone, Collins has ample opportunities for minutes, able to start next to newcomer Hassan Whiteside as part of the Blazers’ newly-formed frontcourt with two legitimate 7-footers.
Simons was a raw prospect last season, getting only 20 games with the NBA team and one start in his rookie year in the league. The Blazers however, are high on his potential and dynamic, now bound to see some minutes in the backcourt as Damian Lillard’s potential backup.
Pulling the trigger on both of these team options were a formality waiting to happen at a relatively low cost for the highest-spending team in the league, now $15.6 million into the luxury tax threshold.
Portland is banking on both of these players playing a part in the organization, a true vote of confidence for a Neil Olshey-led front office that has bet on the talent and versatility of their draft selections.
The Blazers are hoping to compete for more than just a playoff spot, but one of the top four slots in the Western Conference, as the team can only get deeper upon Jusuf Nurkic’s return from a lower left leg injury.