The Portland Trail Blazers have signed 25 year-old point guard, Diante Garrett to a two-year non-guaranteed contract. Most training camp contracts are one year long as a formality, so the extra year says something very important: The Trail Blazers have not ruled out making cuts. Although all 15 players on the Trail Blazers’ official roster have guaranteed contracts, they can be released in favor of another player if Portland is willing to pay them the remainder of their contract upon release. The Trail Blazers will retain the rights to Garrett through 2015-16 if he makes it out of camp.
The #Blazers have signed 6-4 G Diante Garrett to a nonguaranteed training camp roster spot, a league source tells The Oregonian.
— Joe Freeman (@BlazerFreeman) August 11, 2014
Garrett most recently played for the Utah Jazz, where he appeared in 71 games last season. He averaged 3.5 points, 1.7 assists, and 1.4 rebounds in 14.8 minutes per game. Not exactly wowing—especially given his field goal percentage of 38.1. Still, the Trail Blazers are thinnest at the point guard position as long as they see C.J. McCollum as more of a shooting guard, so they will examine their options for added depth. Candidates for displacement on the final roster include Allen Crabbe, Victor Claver, and Meyers Leonard if Garrett proves worthy of a spot in the lineup.
It is highly unlikely that Garrett makes the team, but if he can prove to be a good fit and not just a warm body in training camp, perhaps the Trail Blazers will make room. The kid has some obvious skills. He shot 37.5 percent on 96 three-point attempts last season (a higher percentage than Nicolas Batum, Mo Williams, and Dorell Wright), predominantly on catch-and-shoots (88.9 percent assisted). Here he is abusing amateur players for 60 points at the Milwaukee Pro-Am last month; just take the performance with a grain of salt:
If nothing else, Garrett will serve as motivation for current players to give it their all in training camp. If anyone’s spot is conceivably unsafe, they will have to earn its retention. Do not expect any changes to the anticipated 15 players on-roster, but keep an eye on Garrett when the time comes. He and last Friday’s addition, James Southerland, could force the issue. Both are snipers that have positional and/or size benefits over, say, Crabbe, whose drop-in-the-bucket $862K contract could be easily paid and dismissed.