Breaking down the Portland Trail Blazers 2019-20 salary cap situation

Portland Trail Blazers - Neil Olshey
Portland Trail Blazers - Neil Olshey /

Here’s an in-depth look at how the Portland Trail Blazers salary situation will pan out for the 2019-20 season, and what options they have moving forward.

When the Portland Trail Blazers made the decision to ink franchise star Damian Lillard to a four-year, $196 million supermax extension, they sent a resounding message that the team was committed to winning at all costs. Even more importantly, they’d take care of the players that took care of Portland.

However, committing a third of all your resources to one player can be a risky endeavor, which prompted many questions about the team’s future. With that being said, let’s take a look at how the team’s finances line up for next season and what options will be on the table for the future.

More from Rip City Project

2019-20 Payroll

  • Damian Lillard: $29,802,321
  • CJ McCollum: $27,556,959
  • Hassan Whiteside: $27,093,019
  • Kent Bazemore: $19,269,662
  • Jusuf Nurkic: $12,000,000
  • Rodney Hood: $5,718,000
  • Zach Collins: $4,240,200
  • Skal Labissiere: $2,338,847
  • Anfernee Simons: $2,149,560
  • Nassir Little: $2,105,520
  • Mario Hezonja: $1,737,145
  • Anthony Tolliver: $1,620,564
  • Gary Trent Jr: $1,416,852

That brings the total payroll to $138.3 million heading into next season. Jaylen Hoard is also inked to a deal with the Blazers, but fortunately two-way contracts don’t count against the salary cap and will not affect Portland’s payroll. We aren’t done quite yet though. Former players that were waived with the stretch provision must be accounted for and will still take up a pretty considerable amount of salary.

2019-20 Dead Cap

  • Andrew Nicholson: $2,844,430
  • Anderson Varejao: $1,913,345
  • Festus Ezeli: $333,334

This means Portland will have to dish out another $5 million to players no longer even on the team, bringing the new total cost of next season’s roster to $143.4 million. This number far eclipses the $109.1 million salary cap and even the $132.6 million luxury tax threshold, which means the Blazers are operating in dangerous financial territory.

Being this far over the luxury tax threshold will have costly repercussions for management, who will have to dish out $18.2 million in tax payments. Fortunately, the franchise seems to be in good hands following owner Paul Allen’s passing. Instead of attempting to sell players off to get under that tax threshold, it’s been reported the Blazers are searching for one last player to round out the roster.

The Blazers only have enough flexibility to offer minimum contracts moving forward. Minimum one-year contracts carry a price tag of $1,620,564 — veterans can earn more, but the NBA makes up the difference, more information on that can be found here. By signing this player, Portland must pay an additional $2.50 for every dollar spent in their current tax tier. Which stacks another $4 million in luxury tax on top of that player’s salary.

Confusing, I know. But when it’s all said and done, this hypothetical 14th player brings the total cost of this team (luxury taxes and all) to a whopping $167.2 million.

If any doubts remained about Jody Allen’s willingness to dive deep into her pockets to keep this Portland Trail Blazers team competitive, I hope this decision has silenced them.

Next. 10 best free agent options still on the board. dark

With so many expiring contracts coming off the books next season, the Portland Trail Blazers will have approximately $20 million to spend in the next offseason. With the right people at the helm, it could make for a very exciting summer.