The Portland Trail Blazers are not finished making moves, exercising the fourth-year option of Anfernee Simons and the third-year option of Nassir Little.
The Portland Trail Blazers have continued to make moves this season. After having a busy offseason they have exercised the options of Anfernee Simons and Nassir Little. This ensures that both players are guaranteed another year in the league.
Simons, who is currently playing his third year with the Blazers has seen a drop in minutes this season. Last season he averaged 8.3 points, 2.2 rebounds, and 1.4 assists in 20.7 minutes per game. In the first two games, Little has only played 7.5 minutes per game due to all the Blazers backcourt players being healthy.
Little, who is entering his second NBA season has not played yet due to health and safety protocols. He averaged 3.6 points and 2.3 rebounds in 11.9 minutes per game in his rookie season. As a 6’5″ power forward, Little is going to struggle to break into the rotation when he comes back.
Why the Portland Trail Blazers exercised these options.
The first reason that these options were exercised has to be money. The Blazers have $130 million in salary for next season, with only nine players on the books. Simons is going to earn $3.9 million and Little is only at $2.3 million for next season.
On top of this, Little is one of the few players on the roster who can step into the playmaking duties should either Damian Lillard or CJ McCollum get hurt. The way the Blazers roster is set up, he is a good insurance policy.
However, if the Blazers need to make a trade to make a push for a deeper playoff run, Simons is a good option to include as a part of it. His $3.9 million contract is an easy one to include in a deal, should the Blazers choose to go that way.
His shooting certainly justifies more court time. He is shooting the 3-ball at 40.0 percent on the season. While two games are a small sample size, Little is trying to make the most of his opportunities.
Little, on the other hand, is a different story He is not going to have much of an impact on the Blazers lineup all season. He will probably only receive junk time minutes, and that is if CJ Elleby does not take them all.
Little will probably be a part of a trade with his contract being used to make the money work. The team that he is traded to will be able to assess whether he can help them next season. If not then they simply will not exercise his 2022-23 team option.
The Blazers are looking at now as they believe they are able to take a run at the title. If the game they played against the Los Angeles Lakers in late December is anything to go by, then they are right. However, with the way their roster is set up with the top-heavy contracts of Lillard and McCollum, they are also looking to the future and how they will fit quality players under the cap.