The Portland Trail Blazers may have a tough choice to make when it comes to Anfernee Simons’ impending restricted free agency. Grant Hughes of Bleacher Report contends that Simons’ breakout performance this season should result in a better contract.
Jusuf Nurkic’s unrestricted free agency should command some of the Portland Trail Blazers’ attention, but Anfernee Simons deserves the lion’s share. He’s exactly the kind of up-and-coming restricted free agent rival teams will target with prohibitively large offer sheets.
There’s a case to be made for the Blazers removing the limit on what they’ll match. Simons has exploded in his age-22 season and is averaging 21.4 points per game on excellent efficiency as a starter. In fact, his points per shot attempt in each of the last two years tops anything former teammate and noted marksman CJ McCollum ever managed in his Blazers tenure.
He has had the opportunity to showcase his skillset this season.
Simons’ jumper is money from all over the floor; he ranks well above the league average in accuracy from every shot location outside the restricted area. And his supreme bounce portends dominance at close range as well.
But Hughes has one critical question.
Is Portland willing to build another core around two costly, smallish guards so soon after breaking up the last one? Simons is a different kind of player than McCollum, and his youth adds a valuable element. But the Blazers might have some reservations about a rebuilt roster that so closely resembles the one they just tore down.
It’s a tough question, but the Blazers aren’t the only ones with hard decisions to make. you can read them all here.