The Portland Trail Blazers won’t have cap space this season, but they will have the midlevel exception. Which free agents could they use this on?
The way the Portland Trail Blazers roster is set up for 2021, they will likely have zero cap space to use on free agents. Both Hassan Whiteside and Trevor Ariza would need to be cut loose for this team to have cap space. Keeping in mind that the mid-level exception will likely be between $9 and $10 million, it makes no sense to let Ariza walk as they won’t be able to replace him with that amount of money.
Letting Ariza walk would create $8 million of space, but then they would have to replace him with that $8 million. They are better to keep Ariza, and then use their mid-level on one or two free agents. The mid-level exception is for teams that are over the cap.
There are a few areas of need for this team. We can safely assume that Caleb Swanigan isn’t coming back, and that we are unsure about the returns of Carmelo Anthony and Hassan Whiteside. This means that the areas of need are both forward positions.
Defense is probably the first thing this team needs. It will be tough to get two-way play with this type of budget, but there are an option or two who can do both at a decent level.
The free-agent market isn’t stacked, and it will be tough to get forwards, but there are still some options for the Blazers in that $4 – $10 million range.