I've said for months that the Blazers shouldn't make an offer to a restricted free agent because they would be taking a chance that their offer would be matched, and if Batum signed an offer sheet during the 3-day waiting period they could get stuck having to match Batum's offer sheet before using their cap room on other free agents. Under that scenario if Batum signed for $10M they would lose about $4.6M in cap room they could have used on other free agents this summer.
HOWEVER - If the Blazers don't see any unrestricted free agent Impact Players that they can get, Olshey indicated yesterday that the Blazers might just sit on their cap space until next summer. If they do that, then they are going to lose that cap room they could have saved by signing Batum last anyway.
So if they are willing to sit on the cap room until next year, why not go ahead and make a Monster Offer to a Restricted Free Agent this summer that would be an Impact Player? The worse that could happen is that their offer is matched so they don't get their player, and they wait for next summer anyway.
Today they decided not to make JJ Hickson a Qualifying Offer. That clears the deck for a Monster Offer. They now have $17.3M in cap room and they could increase that to about $18.9M by waiving Shawne Williams with the stretch provision. That's enough to make a Monster Offer to a restricted free agent and still make Billups or some other veteran unrestricted free agent a smaller offer too.
We don't have to make a maximum offer, just more than a players current team is willing to match. But here are the maximum salaries possible determined by years of experience in the league.
Years Max Salary
0-6 .... $12.9M
7-9 .... $15.5M
10+ .... $18.1M
So with up to $18.9M, what Restricted Free Agent COULD the Blazers take a chance on? What Restricted Free Agent SHOULD they take a chance on knowing they could end up losing about $4.6M in cap space this summer?