PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — It appears the end of the Damian Lillard era in Portland is nearing since he requested a trade from the Blazers after the NBA draft. But another Blazers star, Anfernee Simons, has also been talked about a lot as a potential trade option.
The 24-year-old point guard spoke about both possibilities Saturday when he held a basketball camp for youth players in Portland.
It could’ve been easy for Simons to elect not to do a camp here this summer, as he has been talked about a lot as a potential trade option for the Blazers.
That’s not how Simons wants to conduct himself though.
“Trying to get in your feelings about this might happen, this might happen, so I’m not going to do this (camp). Nah, I think it’s only right for me to continue to stay in the Portland community until anything happens, if it does happen,” said Simons.
“I feel like becoming an NBA player, it’s one of our duties to give back and be positive role models,” said Ant, who held his first ever camp in Portland (but has held camps in the past in his Florida hometown.) “I think it just kind of shows how I’ve implemented myself into the community, especially here in Portland.”
Obviously, the biggest trade talk with the Blazers this summer has not been about Ant, but rather centered around his very close friend Damian Lillard.
“I never get myself involved in anything unless it involves me directly. Whatever is being said in the media is what I’m learning, too,” Simons said of the situation with a laugh.
Ant, though, will admit that if Lillard does indeed leave, it won’t be without emotion for him.
“It’s going to be a sad day for sure,” said Anfernee. “I was hoping that one day I would ask for his signed jersey when he retired from Portland, but if he ends up somewhere else, I’m going to have to ask for it before.”
Lillard has been by Simons side ever since he entered the league in 2018.
If Anfernee has played his last game with Dame as a teammate, Simons will look to continue Lillard’s wisdom on to whoever he plays with next.
“He taught me so much about the game. How to work out, how to be a professional, how to carry yourself in this type of environment, how to handle success,” said Simons. “Those lessons will be missed, and I just hope to carry what he’s taught me into other young players as well. I’m always going to support him no matter what. It’s always going to be a family concept with us.”