Why the Portland Trail Blazers should guarantee Trevor Ariza’s contract

Trevor Ariza only has $1.8 million guaranteed for the 2021 season. Why should the Portland Trail Blazers guarantee his contract at the full $12.8 million?

Before being traded to the Portland Trail Blazers, the Sacramento Kings signed Trevor Ariza to a two-year $25 million contract in the 2019/20 off season. The first year was fully guaranteed at $12.2 million, and the second year in 2020/21 was $12.8 million, but this was only partially guaranteed at $1.8 million.

This means that the Blazers have the option to guarantee the 2020/21 year, at the full amount of $12.8 million.

There’s no need to go into all the salary cap mechanics; we just need to look at the two options the Blazers have.

If they didn’t guarantee his contract, he would still have the $1.8 million, and then the Blazers could bring him back by negotiating another deal.

But, his agent may ask for him to be waived by the Blazers so that he could sign elsewhere. That would save the Blazers some money but would mean they lost him for nothing though too. If we cut him, why would he sign back with us?

If they went about it this way and wanted to keep him though, they would only have ” non-bird ” rights though, meaning that there would be certain restrictions on the type of deal they could offer him.

If they did guarantee his contract, then he would earn the full $12.8 million. He could then be used in a trade or play out the year and negotiate another deal at years end.

The team would then have ” early-bird “rights, meaning there would be restrictions around what type of deal could be offered, but not as many restrictions as the non-bird stated above.

Considering the above, the Blazers should guarantee the contract. This means that they will be able to use Ariza’s $12.8 million in a trade, or they could re-sign him at the end of next season. In keeping him, they would have an NBA quality small forward on the roster too.

Outside of the star players and Jusuf Nurkic ( who they definitely wouldn’t want to trade ), they don’t have any significant salaries on the books, so guaranteeing Ariza’s $12.8 million means they could use him as ballast in a trade.

If Rodney Hood hasn’t returned from injury come the start of the 2021 season, then they will need Ariza. The Blazers won’t have any cap space this coming season, just the midlevel exception.

Even if they did have cap space, the small forward market is one that isn’t full of options, so replacing him is almost impossible.

Unless the Blazers wanted to sign Ariza to a longterm contract, then there is no reason to keep his contract at the smaller guaranteed amount of $1.8 million. He added value in 21 games this year with some great play on both ends, so making this commitment to guarantee his contract is the right one.

Though he didn’t play in the Bubble due to family commitments, he can still be a big part of this Blazers team in 2021.

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