This evening's column was reserved for Dave's mailbag, but he is unfortunately without Internet access tonight. He sends his apologies. We interrupt our planned coverage with an excuse to debate free agency some more.
The biggest single chunk of money available for the Portland Trail Blazers this summer is their Mid-Level Exception (aka the MLE). Here is how the money works out for an MLE contract:
- $5.3 million for the first season
- Maximum raise of 4.5%
- Maximum contract length is 4 seasons.
The money can be used on one player, or split up for multiple players.
The last time the Blazers used the Mid-Level Exception, they signed Jamal Crawford to a short-term deal in 2011. Before that, Wesley Matthews was the recipient.
This year, there are no solid reports that provide a target for Blazers GM Neil Olshey's spending. But it seems inevitable that every penny of that MLE will be spent. So tonight, we're tossing it out to the Blazer's Edge community.
Call your shot: Who will Neil Olshey sign with the MLE? And why do you believe it?
- Try to keep it semi-realistic. We're not getting LeBron for the MLE. But if you think a player like Trevor Ariza will sign for the MLE (despite recent rumors), explain why.
- If you believe Olshey won't spend the MLE, explain why.
- And if you believe Neil will split the money and sign multiple players, which players do you think he will sign?
Have fun debating. And if you want to keep up with the latest breaking rumors and buzz in free agency, join the Free Agency Buzz thread here!