Free Agency begins one month from now, on July 1st, and the Blazers have enough money to make a splash, but only if they re-sign wisely. They have a lot of players whose contracts are up and it’s time for them to mull over the big decisions. A look at the Blazer books provides the best insight into what they can and can’t afford to do.
Guaranteed expenditures (barring trade):
Team Total: $43,240,658
The NBA salary cap is $58,044,000, without breaching luxury tax. The Portland Trail Blazers have $14,803,342 to spend before reaching their limit for next season, but they have six players left to look at.
|Eric Maynor||(PG)||Qualifying Offer: $3,351,387|
|Sasha Pavlovic||(SG)||Non-Guaranteed: $1,339,507|
If the Blazers hope to woo free agents, as has been declared, expect many of these players to be gone this summer. Hickson is due a payday large enough to guarantee his absence, and the Blazers have already unofficially parted ways with Nolan Smith. The most likely players to return are Eric Maynor and Elliot Williams, with whom Portland has a mutual interest.
|Elliot Williams||(SG)||$2,200,000 (EST)|
Anticipated Team Total: $48,792,045
If the Blazers re-sign Maynor and Williams they will have roughly $9 million to spend on rookies and free agents. According to the rookie salary scale, the 10th pick will be owed $1,865,300 for their rookie season, and 2nd round picks are owed a to-be-determined six figure salary. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Portland’s 2nd round picks find a new home in order to keep the budget on track. Assuming the Blazers keep the 10th pick, the books get a little heavier.
Anticipated Team Total: $50,657,345
By these projections, the Blazers will have 2 point guards, 3 shooting guards, 2 small forwards, 1 power forward, 2 centers, and at least one rookie of undetermined position by the beginning of free agency. Unless the Blazers trade some assets, they will only have about $7.4 million to spend on free agents. That is by no means a number to be scoffed at, but those hoping for a big name to join the Portland roster may be disappointed. It is more likely that the Blazers accrue a lineup of veteran role players in free agency, and then trade for a big name if a deal strikes their fancy.
This is very good. A number of teams are struggling to stay under cap, but the Blazers have room to spare. In just one month, we will get to see Neil Olshey’s vision for Portland begin to form. Expect the Blazers to have between $7 million and $9 million (on the lower end) waiting to draw in some high level players come July.