The Portland Trail Blazers are only a month or so away from playing NBA games, and their roster is just about set. There are a few potential pieces of business that we could see before the season beginning, but barring a major trade, the team is set for opening night.
Let’s review the Blazers salary cap and contract status.
The NBA set the 2021/222 salary cap at $112 million, with the tax line at $136.6 million.
Currently, the Blazers have 13 players under contract, whose salaries total $137.9 million.
The roster limit is 15, and the minimum that a team can carry in a season is 13 players. Neil Olshey usually likes to go into the season with 14 players under contract, in case of a trade where he has to take back two players or send back one, or in the case of an injury where he can sign a replacement from the buyout market.
This means that Olshey is likely to sign one more player from the three guys who are on training camp deals. Patrick Patterson, Dennis Smith Jr, and Marquese Chriss. This would only be a minimum deal but would give the Blazers more depth at either the point guard spot or the four and five.
In terms of other pieces of potential business, Jusuf Nurkic had the last year of his contract guaranteed. He can sign an extension, or the Blazers can wait and let the market decide his value in free agency at the end of the season.
Nassir Little has a team option on the fourth year of his deal that will almost certainly be picked up before this season.
Lastly, Anfernee Simons is eligible for a rookie extension, on a deadline that expires on the final day before the regular season commences this year. Though Simons is worthy of an extension, the Blazers have a history of not extending their rookies and letting the market decide instead.
Simons is probably worth somewhere around the $6 – $10 million range currently after an excellent 42 percent from three, but can maybe give himself a bigger payday if he repeats this level of shooting again. Simons will likely have his paycheck decided by the market when he is restricted in 12 months.
The Blazers can also add one more two-way contract this year, as they only have the one two way deal, that of Trendon Watford.
As a team, they will head into the season with many tradeable assets, but over the luxury tax slightly. Much will depend on if they perform this season. If they don’t, then we could see a major trade at the deadline.