NBA Trade Idea: Imagining an Orlando Homecoming for Blazers' Anfernee Simons

In a series of NBA trade hypotheticals, Bleacher Report connects the dots and envisions a Portland-Orlando Magic swap that would bring Anfernee Simons home to central Florida.
Jan 10, 2023; Portland, Oregon, USA; Portland Trail Blazers shooting guard Anfernee Simons (1) drives to the basket against Orlando Magic center Wendell Carter Jr. (34, right) during the first half at Moda Center.
Jan 10, 2023; Portland, Oregon, USA; Portland Trail Blazers shooting guard Anfernee Simons (1) drives to the basket against Orlando Magic center Wendell Carter Jr. (34, right) during the first half at Moda Center. / Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

ORLANDO — Few moves captivate the sports world like a player returning home.

Bleacher Report on Thursday suggested player trades for the 28 teams not in the NBA Finals. Their idea for the Magic is to bring Trail Blazers point guard and Longwood native Anfernee Simons home to central Florida.

In exchange for Simons, who averaged better than 22 points and five assists a game for one of the NBA's worst teams, Bleacher Report outlined two trades:

  • the Magic would send Cole Anthony, the No. 18 overall pick in the 2024 NBA Draft, and the Denver Nuggets' 2025 first-round pick with top-five protection to Portland; or
  • a package with Orlando giving up Anthony Black and the Nuggets' 2025 first-round pick.

"Half-court shot-making and facilitation top the Magic's offseason wish list, and they have the assets to address both," Bleacher Report writes. "Going after Simons comes close to doing so in one player. He isn't a bold-text game manager, but he has improved his live-dribble reads over the past few years. Secondary orchestration also goes a long way when Paolo Banchero is already in place."

Simons, 25, played the bulk of his high school career at Edgewater High School — 10 minutes from the Magic's home arena, the Kia Center.

Simons' skill set would be a boon for Orlando, which ranked 24th in points per game, 23rd in 3-point field goal percentage, and last in 3-pointers made per game. Simons made a career-best 42.7 percent of his catch-and-shoot 3s this season — a necessity when Paolo Banchero, Franz Wagner or Jalen Suggs are handling the ball.

Draft picks shouldn't impede any trade that Orlando considers for a proven player. The Magic have graduated from a rebuilding franchise to one that is ready to win now. Whether the Magic gives up Anthony or Black will come down to if they prioritize offense or defense coming off the bench.

Related stories on the Orlando Magic

  • PAUL GEORGE SWEEPSTAKES: If Paul George, the nine-time All-Star, declines his contract option and enters free agency, the Orlando Magic are viewed as a potential suitor. CLICK HERE
  • MAGIC SIGN MALIK MONK?: The connection between the Orlando Magic and Sacramento Kings shooting guard Malik Monk has been a popular one heading into this offseason.CLICK HERE
  • MAGIC EYEING KJ SIMPSON?: It's no secret the Orlando Magic need to improve their shooting. Could Colorado guard KJ Simpson be part of the solution? CLICK HERE

Published
Nathaniel Marrero

NATHANIEL MARRERO