Portland Trail Blazers: 3 free-agent targets for the 2021 season

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Jae Crowder, Portland Trail Blazers

Copyright 2019 NBAE (Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images)

The Portland Trail Blazers will likely only have the midlevel exception to use next off-season. Who can they target as their main offseason acquisition?

The Portland Trail Blazers are likely to be capped out this offseason. The only way they can get into cap space is by letting Trevor Ariza and Hassan Whiteside leave for nothing, if they were to do this it would only create minimal cap room anyway. If they don’t do this, it means they will have around ten million to spend on one player, so they need to spend wisely. This could be on a one-year deal, all they way through to a four-year deal.

Obviously the decisions around Ariza and Whiteside will impact where they go with their midlevel, but if they do bring these two back, which is looking likely, then they will be looking for wing help in terms of defense and positional size. The draft could provide some help here, but no one that they pick will be ready to contribute at a high level right away. Help at the three and four would be the smartest route. The returning Rodney Hood isn’t a great defender while even if Carmelo Anthony returns he isn’t a strong defender anymore.

The only other point to note when thinking about the midlevel, is that it’s value may drop in the wake of the coronavirus and season postponement. Any drop in the salary cap will mean a drop in exceptions like this. But for now as we don’t know what will happen with the cap, we will imagine that it’s going to be around $10 million a year with slight increases on a multi-year deal.

In terms of the player type, they really need someone who is ready to win now, but with a little bit of upside. A buy low type could work really well for the upcoming season, and with Dame’s form this season there will be players who would potentially take less money next year to play with him. Below we profile three players who the Trail Blazers could target in the next offseason.

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