Blazers Trade Rumors: Damian Lillard, Anfernee Simons, Jerami Grant Are 'Untouchable'January 30, 2023
The Portland Trail Blazers consider the trio of Damian Lillard, Jerami Grant and Anfernee Simons "untouchable" ahead of the Feb. 9 NBA trade deadline, according to Action Network's Matt Moore.
Lillard receiving that status isn't surprising because he's the franchise cornerstone. If Portland were to ever trade the six-time All-Star, then it would almost certainly signal a painful rebuild ahead.
Simons, meanwhile, is averaging 21.6 points and 4.0 assists in the first year of his four-year, $100 million extension. The 23-year-old is a critical piece of the long-term foundation.
Grant is a bit of an outlier since he's due to be an unrestricted free agent in the offseason. Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports reported last Friday he had yet to accept Portland's four-year, $112 million contract offer, which is the most the team is allowed to put on the table right now.
Sure, the risk of losing the 28-year-old for nothing as a free agent is there. But his expiring deal limits what the Blazers can get back in a trade, so they might as well do as much as they can to re-sign him in the summer.
Having said that, Portland's stance on Lillard, Simons and Grant illustrates the bind the front office is in. Reinforcements are needed for a team that's 23-26 and 12th in the Western Conference, yet the Blazers don't have a wealth of trade assets that can be leveraged for upgrades.
In the event general manager Joe Cronin wants to dramatically reshuffle the roster by trading Simons or using a Grant sign-and-trade to target outside talent, the offseason is a much better window to make that happen.