NBA Rumors: This Trail Blazer Has Elevated Himself Into "Untouchable" Category

The Portland Trail Blazers face a tough decision as they approach the trade deadline in three weeks: Tank, or try to improve their playoff odds in deference to Damian Lillard? 

According to The Athletic's Portland insider Jason Quick, "it seems almost certain" that one or two of the Blazers' guards will be traded by Feb. 10th. Lillard, of course, is the franchise cornerstone, and interim general manager Joe Cronin "is staunchly devoted" to Dame. 

But Quick also names one other member of the Portland backcourt who is most surely safe from getting dealt. He says that Anfernee Simons "has been elevated to a near-untouchable status inside the Blazers’ front office."

The 22-year-old has been breaking out big-time since the calendar turned, averaging 26.2 points over the last eight games, with 7.9 assists, while shooting 42.7% from three-point range. 

But his defense has also been high level. Quick points out that Simons rates 3rd in the entire NBA in screen defense of ballhandlers. 

And this list is a Who's Who of the best guard defenders in the league. 

So who's on the trade block from the Blazers' backcourt? Quick figures it's CJ McCollum and Norm Powell who could very well be on the move. He also expects center Jusuf Nurkic and Robert Covington to be dealt.

This is going to be a busy three weeks in the Pacific Northwest. 

Photo Credit:  Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports