After yet another disappointing first round playoff loss, the Portland Trail Blazers are entering the 2021 off-season with a lot of difficult questions to answer about their team going forward.
Terry Stotts is out as head coach after nine seasons at the helm. Norman Powell will surely deny his $11.6 million player option and enter unrestricted free agency this summer as a player of his caliber could command between $20 – $25 million a year on the open market. CJ McCollum’s name has been floated in trade rumors for the past two weeks. To make matters worse, the typical, unwavering optimism Blazers’ fans have come to expect from franchise centerpiece, Damian Lillard, after a post-season exit has been replaced this year with cryptic social media posts and a blunt, “no comment” when asked by long-time Trail Blazers’ reporter Jason Quick about his feelings towards the franchise for next season and beyond.
Irrespective of his comments about the team’s defensive struggles and post-season shortcomings not being a product of the roster, Blazers General Manager Neil Olshey has his work cut out for him this summer with four out of their eight most played players (in terms of minutes per game) headed towards free agency in Norman Powell, Enes Kanter, Carmelo Anthony and Derrick Jones Jr.
How do Norman Powell, Enes Kanter, Carmelo Anthony and Derrick Jones Jr. fit into the Portland Trail Blazer’s plans for next season?
Each of these players bring a valuable skill-set to the table, yet after the team’s fourth first round exit in the last five seasons, the Trail Blazers have some difficult decisions to make regarding some of their futures. Which of these players will be wearing the red and black next year?
In this piece, I’ll discuss how these players may or may not fit into the Trail Blazer’s plans for the 2021-2022 season.