The Portland Trail Blazers already made a splash this offseason by trading for Detroit Pistons star Jerami Grant. Now, they look ahead to retaining a couple of key free agents: Jusuf Nurkic and Anfernee Simons.
As Marc Stein notes, there is expected to be no shortage of interest in the Blazers duo. However, both are likely to re-sign in Portland:
Similar pessimism has been conveyed to me about Portland’s Jusuf Nurkić and restricted free agent Anfernee Simons. Both are widely expected by rival teams to land new deals with the Trail Blazers after free agency opens.
Nurkic will see his four-year, $48 million deal expire this summer. He’s spent the last 5.5 years of his career with the Blazers and although the Bosnian only played 56 games in 2021-22, he put up 15 points and 11.1 rebounds per night. He’s always been a reliable figure down low for Portland. Nurkic is a UFA.
As for Simons, he broke out last season as a legitimate scorer. His points went from 7.8 to 17.3 while shooting 40% from beyond the arc. The guard is an RFA, which means the Blazers can match any offer for him.
Portland has a solid core intact right now if they keep Jusuf Nurkic and Anfernee Simons. Sure, Dame could probably use another star around him, but who knows what the future holds for the Blazers. Perhaps Kevin Durant also becomes available and that photoshop becomes a reality.