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Should the Trail Blazers Keep Anfernee Simons?

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He started the season on fire, then faded a bit mid-year. Is Simons still the prize among Portland’s younger players?

NBA: Portland Trail Blazers at Denver Nuggets Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

The Portland Trail Blazers are on a travel day between games with the Indiana Pacers and the Atlanta Hawks. They just lost to Indiana. More wins are probably forthcoming because of an easy stretch of schedule. Over it all looms the reality that the remainder of this season may not matter as much as the moves the team makes in free agency or trades in the Summer of 2020.

Whenever trades are discussed, big-name players lie at the center. Salary matching rules often sweep up ancillary players in multi-player deals. Some are talented, but young, players who enhance trade value. Others are “throw-ins”, included solely for salary purposes and subsequently cut by the receiving team.

The Blazers have several players at risk of being traded in this manner, or simply made obsolete by the latest free-agent signing. Today we’re going to give you a chance to argue why, or whether, the team should reserve these players, saying, “Hands Off!” to anyone who wants them thrown into a larger deal.

The player in question is super sophomore Anfernee Simons. The second-year guard started the season with Katniss Everdeen levels of fire, but has since succumbed to opposing defenses and the grueling schedule. Even so, he is averaging 9.0 points per game in 22.2 minutes, shooting 40.1% from the field. His lightning-quick shot, ability to confound off the dribble, and boundless confidence are hallmarks. He’s signed through 2023 with annual amounts ranging from $2.2 to $5.6 million.

How far is Simons on your Do Not Touch meter? What argument would you make that the Blazers should retain him past the season even if other teams should come calling for him in trades? Let us know in the comment section.