Now Is The Ideal Time For The Portland Trail Blazers To Trade Anfernee Simons

Portland Trail Blazers guard Anfernee Simons is one of the team’s best players. Simons is about to turn 25 and entering the prime years of his NBA career. He’s on a reasonable contract for $53.6 million over the next two seasons. Despite all of this, the Blazers must move on from their promising guard this offseason.

Trading away Simons would give Blazers’ rising stars Shaedon Sharpe and Scoot Henderson an increased role and more opportunity to gain valuable experience. It would significantly benefit Henderson, in particular, as he could run the team as the lead point guard. Despite being the No. 3 overall pick in last year’s draft, Henderson missed out on All-Rookie Team honors. He averaged 14 points, 5.4 assists, and 3.1 rebounds per game; that seems like a productive rookie season, but Henderson was inefficient, shooting 38.5 percent from the field and 32.5 percent from to go along with 3.4 turnovers. 

Guards typically have a slower time transitioning to the NBA and adjusting the game’s speed, and Henderson was no exception. However, he improved significantly as the season went on. Given the significant draft capital the Blazers invested in Henderson, making him a focal point of their rebuild is in their best interest.

It will also give the Blazers a more precise direction in their rebuild. Their roster construction is too guard-heavy and lacks versatility. The backcourt trio of Simons, Henderson, and Sharpe is too undersized to be effective defensively. The Blazers previously had this issue with their backcourt pairing of Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum, and they have yet to learn their lesson. 

Especially considering the size of the next generation of superstar guards in today’s NBA – Luka Doncic is 6-foot-7, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is 6-foot-6, and Tyrese Haliburton is 6-foot-5. The Blazers can’t effectively contain these superstars if they simultaneously have the 6-foot-3 Simons and Henderson on the court.

Lastly, the Blazers must trade Simons this summer because this may be his peak trade value. On a per-game basis, Simons had his career-high in points (22.6), assists (5.5), and rebounds (3.6) this season. The Blazers had injuries to multiple key players throughout the season; when factoring in these players returning from injury and Henderson’s and Sharpe’s anticipated development next season, Simons’ role may diminish, making him a less attractive trade asset. 

Besides a potential decrease in Simons’ stats, another factor that could lower his trade value is if he eventually decides to request a trade. Per Sean Highkin of the Rose Garden Report, Simons desires “to have the opportunity to win.” 

The Blazers should be improved next season, but the Western Conference is highly competitive with many talented teams. If the Sacramento Kings and Golden State Warriors can’t even make the playoffs, it’s doubtful the Blazers do next season. A scenario exists in which Simons gets frustrated with the Blazers’ continued lack of success and eventually requests to leave Portland.

Bleacher Report’s Zach Buckley has Simons listed as the No. 9 trade asset heading into the summer. Buckley mentions that Simons would “land near the top of the wish list for any shoppers in search of an offensive jolt.” It’s hard to envision Simons’ trade value increasing if the Blazers wait to move him. 

Rip City needs to switch up their roster, and Simons, although young and talented, should be the odd man out.

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About Reese Kunz 6 Articles
Reese has covered the NBA and NFL for four years, writing for sites including FanSided, Last Word on Sports, and Stadium Rant. He earned his marketing degree from the University of Arizona and is passionate about sports analytics. When Reese isn't watching or writing about a game, he's often outside exploring the Pacific Northwest. He also drinks way too much coffee.

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