The Portland Trail Blazers find themselves in a challenging position with limited cap space and only one power forward, Nassir Little, currently under contract. Rumors suggest they will be able to re-sign Jerami Grant, who would slot back in as their starting power forward.
It sounds like Grant has an interest in returning to the Blazers too. In an interview with Jason Quick of The Athletic, Grant said:
"I’m looking forward to the talks and trying to figure something out. I definitely feel comfortable here… It’s a family setting. Just being here for this year, I’ve been able to become really close friends with a lot of people on the team, a lot of the staff, lot of people here. And I think for me, that’s a huge part of where you want to work, who you want to be around all year, for the next five years or whatever it might be. I think that’s the biggest thing."
Whether or not Grant re-signs, the Blazers will still need to address their forward position. The Blazers can explore various avenues such as utilizing exceptions like the full mid-level exception (MLE) ($12.2 million), minimum contracts, or the bi-annual exception ($4.5 million).
Here are five potential free agent fits at the forward position, considering skill sets, projected salaries, and possible impacts in Portland.
Free agent power forwards for Blazers to target
No. 1: Harrison Barnes
Harrison Barnes would be an excellent fit for the Blazers, whether they re-sign Grant or not. As a quality starter, Barnes would bring veteran leadership and a versatile skill set to the team. He is known for his ability to knock down 3-pointers consistently while providing solid defense on the perimeter.
If the Blazers fail to re-sign Grant, signing Barnes becomes more realistic, but even if Grant returns, Barnes may be open to signing for the full MLE.
Barnes’ scoring ability – he averaged 15 points per game on 47.3 percent shooting last season – would be a valuable asset for the Blazers. His experience and composure would also benefit the team in high-pressure situations.
If he joins the Blazers and plays off the bench behind Grant, he would provide stability and scoring punch to the second unit. He has the ability to fit with the Blazers as either a starter at the power forward or small forward positions or be a league-leading sixth man.