The Portland Trail Blazers should attempt to re-sign everyone

Carmelo Anthony, Hassan Whiteside, Portland Trail Blazers (Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images)
Carmelo Anthony, Hassan Whiteside, Portland Trail Blazers (Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images) /

The Portland Trail Blazers find themselves in yet another off-season that poses a lot of difficult free agency questions.

As the Portland Trail Blazers look to make some difficult free agency decisions this summer, it could be time to see some new fan favourites walk. In a previous article we discussed the probability of some of these players returning.

Of the players mentioned, the two that jump out are Carmelo Anthony and Hassan Whiteside. Both unfortunately pose a big risk not to re-sign this off-season due to decreased minutes and pay cuts.

Carmelo Anthony played 32.5 minutes per game in a shocking NBA return. Many counted Melo out for good after being released by the Houston Rockets. The Blazers rolled the dice on the veteran and it paid off in dividends.

Anthony averaged 15.3 PTS and 6.3 REB in a complementary front court role last season. The Blazers got starter production from one of the biggest names in the NBA on a minimum contract.

With the return of Zach Collins and Rodney Hood the chances of Melo being a starter next season are slim. Similar to other pending free agents the Blazers have, this could create complications.

Whiteside played 31.3 minutes per game last season as the replacement starter for Jusuf Nurkic. He was a statistical monster averaging 3.1 BLK (league high) as well as 16.3 PTS and 10.2 REB.

With the highly anticipated return of Nurkic next season, Whiteside would likely move into a sixth man role. As someone who understandably considers himself a starter it could be hard to convince the big man to return.

Trevor Ariza should also jump out as an important pending free agent to Blazers fans. Acquired at the trade deadline in a deal with Sacramento, Ariza got a second wind in his career.

The veteran forward was reportedly disgruntled in Northern California and felt his career had hit rock bottom. With the Kings, Ariza averaged 6.0 PTS on a 38.8 FG%.

Of the three players mentioned Ariza is the most likely to return, he is already comfortable in a role-player situation. But with a $12.8 million price tag he is still someone to pay attention to.

Due to finances and minutes it could be hard to come to agreements with each of these players. But it is worth recognising how each of these new acquisitions helped make Portland a better team as the season progressed.

Many say let the players walk due to cost concerns. However the reality is the Blazers are well over the salary cap even if Whiteside, Ariza and Anthony leave. Unless the team manages to establish sign and trade terms for each player, the team will see no return on investment.

Currently in the NBA, teams are allowed to spend money over the salary cap if it is on retaining existing players. No situation allows for a team to sign free agents from other franchises if they are over the salary cap.

With all this in mind it is worth a shot to try and retain all three players. It could be real easy to sell the impending free agents on the vision of Portland’s future.

Both Whiteside and Anthony currently live in Oregon full time. Ariza could be soon to follow if he plays with the Trail Blazers again next season.

dark. Next. 3 things Anfernee Simons needs to work on this off-season

All three players have spoken about their affinity for Portland and how happy they currently are. Back in January, Melo went so far as to say that he wants to retire with the team.

If the only thing that is standing in the way is minute concerns and shelling out money. Neil Olshey can still find a way to convince all three players to stay.

Should the team return in full, the Trail Blazers are a legitimate contender in the west. The backcourt would include: Damian Lillard, C.J. McCollum, Gary Trent Jr. and Anfernee Simons. The frontcourt would feature: Rodney Hood, Zach Collins, Jusuf Nurkic, Nassir Little Carmelo Anthony, Hassan Whiteside and Trevor Ariza.

Assuming everyone stays healthy next season, this is a roster that has already built good chemistry with each other. Frankly, between positive relationships and talent no question they could compete in the playoffs.