Anfernee Simons’ Trade Value Can’t Be Ignored


The 2024 NBA Draft is just three weeks away, and while the promise of incoming talent kicks off the summer, it also signals the arrival of a different, even buzzier part of the NBA calendar.

“Trade Season,” as it’s known around “THIS LEAGUE,” is like no other league’s transaction period. It’s why, while the Portland Trail Blazers can’t ignore the draft with two lottery picks, Joe Cronin’s secret moleskin notebook should be overflowing with trade-target big boards and hypothetical trade packages.

At this point, we likely know who sits on Portland’s trade block.

Malcolm Brogdon’s leadership and production make him a standout player when healthy, but he’s not on the same career arc as the young core, which matters when the team isn’t competing.

The story reads the same for Jerami Grant. And while Robert Williams III is 26 and a menace on defense, his injuries are troubling for a group just starting to set its roots.

At the end of the day, we’ll likely see one or more vets flipped for future assets and cap relief. But another name to watch is one we’ve seen in the rumor mill before.

While Anfernee Simons may be the Trail Blazers’ best player right now, he may also be—as he’s been in the recent past—Portland’s most valuable trade asset.

What Is Anfernee Simons’ Trade Market? 

Although trade season really never ends, the run-up to the draft is when speculation resurfaces. And Simons’ name is already out there.

In a recent ranking of the offseason’s top trade chips, Bleacher Report named Simons the No. 9 asset on the market, sandwiching him between the Los Angeles Lakers’ 2029 first-rounder (No. 10) and the Houston Rockets’ third-overall pick later this month (No. 8).

B/R noted that it’s “hard to gauge how much (if at all) the Portland Trail Blazers would entertain offers.” But Simons has been here before. At one point, he was floated as the centerpiece of an O.G. Anunoby deal. And then last June, when Portland landed the No. 3 pick, The Athletic’s John Hollinger reported Cronin could add it to a Simons deal to land Lillard his “elite small forward.”

The Cronin Factor

Cronin and his timeline are important here. For starters, he wasn’t the GM who drafted Simons. He likely doesn’t feel the inherent pressure to see him stay, as Neil Olshey seemingly did with CJ McCollum.

On the other side, he did draft Scoot. And he did draft Shaedon Sharpe.

That’s all to say that despite turning 25 on Saturday and still having a level-up in him, Simons is not untouchable. Depending on this team’s blueprint, that may hold more value in the trade market than in the court.

So What’s the Direction?

Sticking with Cronin, there’s also the exponentially approaching “okay, what now?” phase of his rebuild. And that’s not even to mention the looming end of his first contract.

Although there was nothing easy about the Damian Lillard trade, tearing down the roster is always the “easy” part of a rebuild. Then, setting a plan and seeing it through is where the margin for error shrinks.

What Kind of Offers Could Portland See?

Assuming Cronin tests the water and accepts calls, he’ll target first-round draft picks and young talent. And if you’ve tapped into any trade ideas across sports media lately, Simons to the Orlando Magic is a popular one that fits.

For starters, the Magic’s package usually centers around guards Cole Anthony or Anthony Black and a first-round pick. It’s not the blockbuster you might hope for if you suddenly long for the days of Simons-and-a-first for Anunoby. However, situations change, and swapping guards who would fix each team’s strength imbalances while giving Portland a pick is tempting.

One of the situations that has “changed,” by the way, is that the Scoot-Shaedon duo feels primed for a leap. If the front office feels the same, using your best assets to start building around that now is something to explore. Another team that could come calling would be Victor Wembanyama’s San Antonio Spurs.

Wemby needs a playmaker, and the Spurs need a dynamic scorer.

They also probably need to unload Keldon Johnson.

Feel free to quibble over the details, as it is part of the fun with trade ideas. But at their cores, those and other teams looking to turn a corner while the Blazers slow play 2024-25 would be wise to dial Trader Joe.

And he would be wise to take those calls—whoever they’re from—each time.