The Portland Trail Blazers have extended a qualifying offer to restricted free agent Anfernee Simons. The move signals Portland’s intention to retain the guard, the first step in the free agency process.
Since the Blazers have now tendered the offer, Simons has three options before him.
- He can negotiate with Portland for a contract extension. If the two sides can come to a mutually-agreeable accord, they will reunite for the duration of that new contract.
- He can negotiate with other NBA teams, signing a free agent offer with one of them. If Simons signs an offer, the Blazers have the right to match the amount and retain his services for the duration of the new contract.
- He can sign for the single-year qualifying offer that Portland just offered. If he chooses this option, he would remain with the Blazers for one year, then become an unrestricted free agent in the Summer of 2023. Portland would have no right to match any offers Simons received next summer. They could negotiate with him then, just as with any unrestricted free agent. They would also be able to exceed the salary cap to retain him, as they would still possess his Bird Rights.
The Blazers are expected to keep Simons on a new, long-term deal at the conclusion of this free agency period, either by matching another team’s offer or negotiating an extension with him themselves. The qualifying offer they just made was a necessary prelude to that process. The only other alternative would be to renounce him entirely.
Simons carries a fairly modest, $11.8 million cap hold this summer. That amount counts against Portland’s salary cap for purposes of signing free agents until Simons re-signs with them or goes to another team. Since that amount is below his expected new salary level, in some scenarios, it may be beneficial to the Blazers to delay signing him officially until the end of their free agency maneuvers.
Simons scored 17.3 ppg for the Blazers last season over 57 appearances, shooting 44.3% from the field and 40.5% from the three-point arc. He has now completed four years in the NBA after being drafted 24th overall by the Blazers in the 2018 NBA Draft.