Portland Trail Blazers: 2022 NBA free agency recap and review

2022 NBA free agency is well underway, and the Portland Trail Blazers have been plenty busy. Portland spent most of the opening week locking down their own talent.

The Blazers re-signed promising guard Anfernee Simons to a four-year, $100 million contract which will keep him in a Portland jersey until the 2026 offseason.

Later that night after renewing their commitment to Simons, the Blazers continued to add to the roster by signing a member of the Golden State Warriors championship team in Gary Payton II, who has ties to the Northwest.

Washington Wizards, Portland Trail Blazers, Damian Lillard, Gary Payton II, 2022 NBA free agency

Washington Wizards, Portland Trail Blazers, Damian Lillard, Gary Payton II, 2022 NBA free agency (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

Have the Portland Trail Blazers fulfilled their goals in 2022 NBA free agency?

The second day brought the re-signing of their free agent center Jusuf Nurkić to a four-year, $70 million contract. In addition to Nurkić re-upping, his likely backup was also signed with the decision to bring back Drew Eubanks. Shaedon Sharpe, their selection with the seventh-overall pick in the 2022 NBA draft, inked his rookie contract as well.

The real story may lie in the things that the Blazers didn’t do than what they did accomplish. After being touted as a potentially invaluable trade chip, the Trail Blazers reportedly waived Eric Bledsoe to prevent his contract for the remaining year to fully guarantee. Their use of the non taxpayer mid-level exception also brought upon the NBA’s hard cap, meaning that Portland can’t eclipse the proposed $156 million figure in total salaries under any circumstance. This, along with the fact that they now have 14 rostered players for 2022-2023, point to the fact that the Blazers will only be able to sign one final piece to a veteran minimum contract before their offseason is over.

Yet, there are plenty of holes left in the roster. After tearing down the roster last season, it was surmised that the Blazers intended to build a more athletic, sizable roster around Damian Lillard. But they’ll enter the 2022-2023 season just as loaded with guards and as shallow on big wings and true size as they were last season. But this was always going to be a long-term transition, so we’ll have to wait until at least the 2022 trade deadline to see what stripping down the 2021-2022 roster ultimately led to.