The Blazers, after a disappointing 2021 regular season and playoffs, have very few ways to improve the team this off-season. They have no cap space, no first-round pick in this year’s draft, and then because of where the cap sits this season, they will likely not be able to use the full mid-level exception.
When the Blazers traded Gary Trent Jr and Rodney Hood for Norman Powell at the trade deadline, there was obviously intent to bring Powell back this season.
In the NBA’s collective bargaining agreement with the players, there is an exception where a team can go over the cap to bring back a player who has spent three years or more with a team or spent three years total on different teams but on the same contract. This is called ” Bird Rights. ”
Because Powell was traded from the Raptors to the Blazers where he had previously spent over three years, the Blazers inherited those bird rights.
It’s key now, that the Blazers bring Powell back this off-season.
The number that he gets brought back on probably doesn’t matter too much. Powell isn’t getting a max deal, and if the number is between 15 and 22 million, then this would be fine.
Blazer fans need to remember that they have no way to improve the team outside of signing Powell and bringing back their own guys. If Powell walked ( which I can’t see happening ) this would be a disaster. I’m certain that Powell’s agent would have agreed on a number with the Blazers, so it should be straightforward.
I hope that the coaching change and some of the surrounding issues don’t impact Powell’s role or him wanting to come back, but it shouldn’t be a problem. Powell is an impactful player who not only plays differently from Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum, but he is younger as well.
Re-signing Powell to around $20 million a year gives the team insurance if they have to trade CJ McCollum as well. Powell is actually a better fit next to Lillard because he is a slasher who is strong around the rim, as well as being a great shooter from the corners.
Powell can still play in the three-guard lineup that was so successful in the regular season, he doesn’t have great height at the small forward position but has a massive six-foot-eleven wingspan which means he can guard some opposition twos and threes.
The Blazers have no way of improving the team outside of a small $5 million exception. Bringing Powell back should be a no-brainer.