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The Blazers Were “Never Willing” to Include Simons in a Trade for Gordon

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According to a story from Bleacher Report’s Jake Fischer, the Trail Blazers’ pursuit of Aaron Gordon never included a package that featured Anfernee Simons.

NBA: Orlando Magic at Denver Nuggets Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

The Trail Blazers long-rumored pursuit of Magic forward Aaron Gordon, who is now with the Nuggets, might have been held up by Portland’s unwillingness to include third-year guard Anfernee Simons in an outgoing trade package.

On Tuesday, Bleacher Report’s Jake Fischer explained that the Blazers’ hunt to acquire Gordon in a trade was hindered by their reluctance to part ways with Simons.

The Blazers had been engaged in conversations with Orlando regarding Gordon for several years, yet Portland was never willing to include Anfernee Simons in any outgoing package, sources said.

Fischer’s report went on to explain that once the Nuggets got involved, it was assumed that the Magic coveted R.J. Hampton over Simons.

It’s believed that Magic president Jeff Weltman also preferred Denver’s R.J. Hampton over Simons as a young blue-chip prospect. Even leading up to the draft, league executives speculated Hampton’s range started at No. 15, where Orlando ultimately took Cole Anthony.

Simons, who is in his third season with the Blazers, has appeared in 46 games this year. He is averaging 7.7 points per game, which is slightly lower than his 8.3 scoring average from the 2019-20 season. The Blazers selected Simons with the No. 24 pick in the 2018 NBA Draft.

When discussing the Blazers’ decision to exchange Gary Trent Jr. and Rodney Hood for Powell, one anonymous Western Conference team official explained that the burgeoning pre-deadline market for the former UCLA guard could lead to a hot free agent market.

“Knowing what Portland gave up and how many suitors there were, I think he’s the most interesting guy on the market,” said another Western Conference team official.

Fischer’s story went on to highlight that a B/R poll of league sources speculated that Powell could net a new contract close to a four-year, $100 million deal. According to an anonymous Western Conference source, the Knicks fit the bill of a potential Powell suitor.

But what if some team with cap space, perhaps the New York Knicks, were to extend a significantly higher offer? ”The Powell numbers might get crazy,” said one Western Conference voice. Tom Thibodeau has long been considered to covet Powell, and the Knicks could offer him a four-year agreement north of $100 million if they choose.

Since arriving in Portland, Powell has started in all nine games and is averaging 16.3 points per game.

You can read Fischer’s full story at Bleacher Report.