Over the last couple of days, Trail Blazers fans have become very eager to see their new-look team in action with the Blazers making moves this summer.
For now, fans will have to settle for watching the Trail Blazers Summer League squad take the court in Las Vegas beginning July 5th.
On Tuesday, Portland held its first Summer League practice. Second-year players Anfernee Simons and Gary Trent Jr. are ready to defend the Blazers 2018 Summer League Championship, but they also took time on Tuesday to thank their now former teammate, Evan Turner.
“It’s been pretty crazy. Obviously we’re going to miss those guys… They were all big pieces for us… I just wish the best for them and I’m happy to move forward,” Simons said of enduring his first free agency wave of teammates leaving.
Simons described Turner as his “big brother.”
As we all know, big brothers can be looked at as a mentor, but they can also be a little demanding at time.
Or a lot demanding.
And, that was ET.
“ET was a headache the whole year,” Simons said with a big smile. “He called us late at night telling us to go to 7-Eleven to get him something to drink or something like that.”
Those 7-Eleven runs would happen on a “consistent” basis.
“Say a road trip is like five games; he would do it three of the cities. So it was pretty consistent,” Simons said.
Simons laughed, saying, telling ET was not a option.
“He would get candy, snacks, anything, it didn’t matter, everything, something random. Toiletries, toilet paper, wipes, everything,” Simons said with a straight face.
“Sometimes I didn’t answer the phone on purpose because it was so late,” Simons laughed.
But despite all of Turner’s requests, he is the one who will be missed the most by the Blazers youngster.
“I’m going to miss ET most because he was the guy that kind of took us under his wing and kind of talked to us. He was like a big brother,” Simons said.
Trent Jr. also talked about how difficult it is to say good-bye to teammates, especially ET.
“You know, this my first time actually being part of a new team, with guys leaving,” Trent Jr. said. “I got close with a couple of the guys last year. Evan Turner, he was my vet. Now that he’s gone, I’m out here on my own, kind of."
Trent Jr. went on to say, “when I was first got here, [ET] just taught me the ropes. He got me a couple pair of suits, CJ [McCollum] did too. Evan got my first chain for me with my initials, just little stuff like that.”
Simons noted that Turner also gifted him some suits and chains as well.
At just 20 years old, Simons was taught the ropes from ET throughout the season, but he was also taught how to respond to a trade.
Both Simons and Turner were in Phoenix together last week training when the trade went down.
“He was cool about it the next day,” Simons said. "He’s been through this before. He’s a vet.”
Now as Turner heads to Atlanta, Simons and Trent Jr. will look to keep making Turner proud… Except when they play the Hawks, of course.