Sadly for fans of the current version of this Portland Trail Blazers, this team has reached the end of the line. The heart-breaking game five loss exposed the Blazers in many ways, and not even being able to reach a game seven against a weakened Denver Nuggets team, says that this is probably the end of the road for this version of the team. Change is coming, be it coaching or personnel.
Which three players are most unlikely to be back on next year’s roster?
Player #1 – Derrick Jones Jr
The unlucky Derrick Jones Jr is likely to be out the door first. He provided great energy, athleticism, and defense early in the season after signing a two-year $20 million deal in the off-season.
There were rumors about off-court issues after he fell out of the rotation in April, but the team didn’t release anything publicly confirming it.
Jones Jr didn’t have a bad year, but his lack of shooting ability and perceived fit issues with the roster meant that he barely played down the stretch of the season and only got 10 minutes in the playoffs.
Because the Blazers will have limited cap space in 2021 and have a team option on Jones Jr, he is probably the first one out the door. Maybe a coaching change would mean Jones Jr plays, but surely Neil Olshey was part of the decision to remove Jones from the rotation.
Jones is an exciting young player who can guard multiple positions and finish well at the rim. Unfortunately, he was part of a team with younger players on a shorter leash because of the team’s struggles. I think Jones will be the first one to go.