NBA Rumors: Portland "Widely Expected" To Retain Two Star Players

The Portland Trail Blazers are building something, and they're not likely to allow two of their key pieces to escape in free agency. That's the word today from NBA Insider Marc Stein. 

Regarding center Jusuf Nurkic and guard Anfernee Simons, Stein says "both are widely expected by rival teams to land new deals with the Trail Blazers after free agency opens."

Simons is a restricted free agent who came on strong this past season for the Blazers, increasing his scoring average by 10 points a game, to 17.3, along with 2.6 rebounds and 3.9 assists. He also fired threes at a 40.5% success rate. He is seen as a key piece of the rebuilding Portland program.

Nurkic has long insisted he wants to remain with the Trail Blazers, and as an unrestricted free agent he's coming off a 4-year contract that saw him average $12M annually. 

The soon-to-be 28-year-old was limited by injuries this past season to just 56 games, but has a 12.2 PPG and 8.5 rebounds per game average in his 8 seasons in the league.

Photo Credit: Steve Dykes-USA TODAY Sports