Ranking Trail Blazers team contracts from bargain to nightmare

Portland is facing a rare salary cap dilemma.
(l to r) Malcolm Brogdon, Deandre Ayton, Jerami Grant; Portland Trail Blazers
(l to r) Malcolm Brogdon, Deandre Ayton, Jerami Grant; Portland Trail Blazers / Mark Blinch/GettyImages
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Trading Damian Lillard last offseason signaled an official and total rebuild for the Portland Trail Blazers. It makes sense, then, that the roster is the third-youngest in the NBA and that the team will finish this season with one of the worst records in the league.

What doesn't make sense is that this same franchise - one that rolled out a starting five of all rookies in multiple games for the first time in NBA history - has the 17th-most expensive roster in the league, is more than $35 million over the salary cap and is $1.3 million away from paying the luxury tax.

Portland has a more expensive roster than playoff teams like the Cleveland Cavaliers and New York Knicks. And next year isn't much better; the Trail Blazers' roster is projected to be more costly than those of the Orlando Magic, Memphis Grizzlies and Sacramento Kings.

It's an unusual situation. Franchises that are rebuilding and outwardly tanking aren't normally one signing away from bypassing the luxury tax. Yet that's where Portland finds itself.

Here's a look at which players are taking up the largest chunks of the Blazers' cap space and where the team's best bargains are coming from.

Players with cap holds for next season - Ashton Hagans, Ibou Badji, Justin Minaya and Moses Brown - will not count against the Blazers' total cap figure and aren't included on this list.

The absolute steals

14. Duop Reath

The Blazers recognized Reath was already a steal when he went from summer league star to two-way player to G League standout to NBA rotation player this season. So they signed him to an extension and made him an absolute steal.

The 27-year-old big man has started 20 games for Portland, is playing 18 minutes per game, is averaging 9.2 points and is shooting 37 percent from three. He signed a three-year, $6.2 million deal that goes through 2025-26 with only $4 million guaranteed. Locking up a valuable stretch five like Reath for that price is the definition of a team-friendly contract.

13. Toumani Camara

Camara may have been the least-heralded piece Portland received in the three-team Lillard trade, but the 6-foot-7 forward quickly caught head coach Chauncey Billups' attention with his defensive IQ and effort. The Dayton product eventually earned a starting spot and has averaged almost 25 minutes a night this season while often being tasked with defending one of the opposing team's best scorers.

If Camara can develop a consistent 3-point stroke - he shot 45.8 percent on 2.4 attempts per game over his last 20 contests - the Trail Blazers unearthed a three-and-D forward who will make less than $8 million total over the next four seasons.

12. Shaedon Sharpe

Despite only playing 32 games this year, Shaedon Sharpe has shown enough to cement his status as a core building block for Portland and a player with superstar upside.

He exploded over the final 10 games of last season and carried that momentum into his sophomore campaign when he averaged 18.8 points, 5.6 rebounds and 3.6 assists in more than 37 minutes a night through this year's first 22 games.

Sharpe hasn't played since Jan. 11 after suffering an adductor injury, but he'll still only be 21 years old next season and will make a combined $14.9 million over the next two years.