PORTLAND, Ore. (July 6, 2022) – The Portland Trail Blazers have re-signed center Jusuf Nurkic and guard Anfernee Simons, it was announced today by General Manager Joe Cronin. Per team policy, terms of the deals were not disclosed.
“It was incredibly important to us to bring back both Jusuf Nurkic and Anfernee Simons as key pieces of our core,” said Cronin. “Nurk’s physicality, rebounding prowess and defensive acumen make him an integral part of what we do on both sides of the ball.” Cronin continued, “Anfernee is already one of the league’s top shooters and this past season he showed elite ability as a shot creator and distributor. We are excited for him to continue the growth he has shown in his first four seasons in Portland.”
Nurkic, 27, averaged 15.0 points (53.5% FG, 69.0% FT), a career-high 11.1 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 1.11 steals in 56 games (all starts) for the Trail Blazers during the 2021-22 season. One of eight NBA players to average at least 15 points and 11 rebounds last season, Nurkic led the Trail Blazers in rebounds and ranked second in points while his 30 double-doubles marked the second-most of any season during his career.
Originally acquired by the Trail Blazers in a trade from Denver on February 13, 2017, Nurkic (7-0, 285) has averaged 14.6 points, 9.9 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 1.00 steal and 1.25 blocks in 272 games (271 starts) over five-plus seasons in Portland. The Trail Blazers have a record of 160-112 (.588) with Nurkic in the lineup over that span.
Selected by Chicago with the 16th overall pick of the 2014 NBA Draft, Nurkic holds career averages of 12.2 points (50.0% FG, 67.2% FT), 8.5 rebounds, 2.2 assists, 0.91 steals and 1.19 blocks in 411 games (330 starts) over eight seasons with the Trail Blazers and Nuggets.
Simons, 23, averaged career highs of 17.3 points (44.3% FG, 40.5% 3-PT, 88.8% FT), 2.6 rebounds and 3.9 assists in 57 games (30 starts) for the Trail Blazers during the 2021-22 season. His scoring average was a 9.5-point increase over his 2020-21 season average, representing the largest jump in the NBA for players who played a minimum of 50 games in both seasons. In his 27 appearances after becoming a full-time starter on January 3, Simons averaged 23.4 points, 2.7 rebounds and 5.8 assists.
One of the most prolific young shooters in the NBA, Simons (6-3, 195) had 24 games with at least five three-pointers before turning 23, tied for the third-most in league history by a player age 22 or younger. In addition, Simons is the only player in NBA history with multiple games of nine or more three-pointers before turning 23 (three). Simons became the youngest player in franchise history to score 40-plus points in a game when he scored a career-high 43 points against Atlanta on January 3, 2022.
Selected by Portland with the 24th overall pick of the 2018 NBA Draft, Simons holds career averages of 10.2 points (42.5% FG, 39.2% 3-PT, 83.3% FT), 2.2 rebounds and 2.0 assists in 211 games (35 starts) for the Trail Blazers.