NBA Rumors: Portland Trail Blazers Open to Trading Young Star

The Portland Trail Blazers are looking to reshape their franchise after a second-straight underwhelming season, and they're apparently willing to go to extreme lengths to do it. The Ringer's Kevin O'Connor posited in a recent piece that the team was willing to trade emerging star Anfernee Simons in order to help build around Damian Lillard.

Simons is arguably the Blazers' most promising young player. At 23 years old, the former first-round pick averaged 21.1 points, 2.6 rebounds, and 4.1 assists per game with a respectable .581 true shooting percentage over 62 appearances in the 2022-23 season. That being said, the Blazers remain Lillard's team, and if they truly wish to build around their franchise icon, Simons is among their best trade assets.

The Blazers find themselves at a crossroads. Lillard showed no signs of decline in 2022-23, even averaging career highs in points per game (32.2), field goal percentage (.463), and true shooting percentage (.645), but he's set to turn 33 years old before the beginning of next season, and the Blazers have won fewer than 35 games for two straight seasons. Deciding between maximizing his final years or embracing a rebuild could define the future of the franchise.

It's hard to believe the Blazers could build a true contender while Lillard remains in his prime, but using Simons as the centerpiece of a trade to acquire a superstar would be their best bet.

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