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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Still young, still developing and still cheap

11. Scoot Henderson

After Sharpe, the only player on Portland's roster with superstar potential is Henderson. The No. 3 pick in the 2023 draft has had a disappointing rookie season relative to expectations, but he's also had stretches in which he looks like a franchise floor general.

For example: Scoot's the only rookie to score 20 points and dish out 10 assists in a game this season, and he's done it four times.

A player who possesses enormous upside, plays the most important position in the game and is still 20 years old on a rookie contract is the kind of value every NBA franchise desires.

10. Jabari Walker

His averages of 8.7 points and 4.7 rebounds won't wow anyone, but Jabari Walker has become a crucial player for the Blazers in his second season. The energy and effort he puts on the floor in his more than 23 minutes a night makes him one of Billups' most reliable bench options. Walker just had a 14-point, 22-rebound game in a win over the Charlotte Hornets.

He has a non-guaranteed salary of $2.0 million in '24-25 before becoming a restricted free agent in '25-26.

9. Rayan Rupert

Rupert, who was picked 11 spots ahead of Camara last summer, was undoubtedly the Rip City Remix's Most Valuable Player. He started 15 games for the franchise's new G League affiliate and averaged 13.7 points, 6.0 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 1.2 steals while shooting 44.3 percent from three on more than four attempts per game.

The 6-foot-6 19-year-old with a 7-foot-3 wingspan was drafted as a potential lock-down defender, but if he can carry that 3-point stroke into the NBA, he has more upside than Camara as a three-and-D wing. He'll make about $4 million over the next two seasons before becoming a restricted free agent.

8. Kris Murray

Portland made Murray the 23rd pick in last year's draft hoping he would be what Camara has been and what Rupert could be. But the former Iowa star couldn't crack Billups' rotation until tank season began and still hasn't played like a first-round pick since becoming a regular starter.

In almost 31 minutes a night over his last 22 games, Murray is averaging 8.9 points and is shooting just 22.7 percent from three. It's been a disappointing season for the 23-year-old, but he's still making a rookie salary on a rebuilding team. He'll continue to get chances to show he's an NBA-caliber player, and in the worst-case scenario, Portland pays him $2.9 million next season and lets him walk in 2025-26.

7. Dalano Banton

Portland General Manager Joe Cronin gave up almost nothing to take Dalano Banton off the Boston Celtics' hands, and all the 24-year-old has done since is produce. After scoring fewer than 5 points a game over his first 119 NBA contests, Banton is posting averages of 15.8 points, 4.6 rebounds and 3.1 assists as a member of the Trail Blazers. He's hitting 35.6 percent of his 5.4 3-point attempts a night.

Banton is doing all this as a 6-foot-9 point guard, which makes him a versatile piece on both ends of the floor. The question is, what happens next year when he isn't getting tanking-time minutes? Picking up his $2.2 million option for next season is worth discovering the answer.