The Portland Trail Blazers may have traded CJ McCollum to the New Orleans Pelicans, but they won't have to look far to find a new backcourt partner for Damian Lillard. Anfernee Simons has had a breakout season this year, and he has shown no signs of stopping thus far. Anfernee Simons is currently averaging 17.1 PPG, 2.7 RPG, and 3.9 APG while shooting 40.3% from beyond the arc.
Anfernee Simons will be a restricted free agent at the end of this season, so there's a chance another team could end up prying him away from the Trail Blazers. However, it seems as though Anfernee Simons wants to stay in Portland. Ben Pickman of Sports Illustrated relayed the news.
Before departing for New Orleans, McCollum left parting gifts for his former teammates: signed jerseys with words of advice scribbled on them. Simons collected his memento from the team’s practice facility on the day after the trade. On it, McCollum told Simons to keep going, to take in the moment and to not shy away from who he is.
In Simons’s eyes, that means being a presence in Portland for years to come.
“I 100% want to stay in Portland,” Simons says of his upcoming free agency. “And I think everybody wants me to stay as well. I think it’s a perfect fit for me.”
While the Portland Trail Blazers may be in a rebuilding state right now, they could potentially be a better team next season when Damian Lillard returns. They have acquired Josh Hart in the CJ McCollum trade, which addresses their need for wing defense, and if Anfernee Simons is able to be that secondary scorer behind Damian Lillard, they could be a solid team overall.
Some people have suggested that the Portland Trail Blazers need to start rebuilding, and trade Damian Lillard. However, it is also quite possible that the Trail Blazers can still build something around their superstar, and Anfernee Simons is definitely someone who can help them be a good team. Hopefully, we see the Portland Trail Blazers be more competitive next season.