With the dominoes falling after the announcement of Kevin Durant joining the Golden State Warriors, it appears the Portland Trail Blazers may have interest in signing unrestricted free agent big man Festus Ezeli.
According to a source, the Blazers have expressed interest in free agent center Festus Ezeli.— Joe Freeman (@BlazerFreeman) July 4, 2016
Ezeli fits immediately with Portland in a number of ways. First of all, he's a legitimate center. At 7-feet tall, 275 pounds, with a nearly 7'6" wingspan, Ezeli is a physical specimen that can and has controlled the paint at times over the last two season for the Warriors. As for what one could expect from Ezeli from a production standpoint, his Per 36 numbers are pretty spectacular.
If Ezeli performs at 15 points, 12 rebounds, and 2 blocks per night then you could most certainly argue that pursuing Ezeli is a solid course of action. Of course, pursuing Ezeli certainly comes at a cost.
Where things shake out here will be on the financial end. As we've noted numerous times now, the Blazers are in a strange position cap-wise.
If they renounce Gerald Henderson they have roughly $8.4 million in space. That won't get an Ezeli signing done in this free agent climate. If Ezeli is looking for a max deal, he'll command over $22 million. The moves necessary to facilitate the signing; moving one or both of Al-Farouq Aminu and Ed Davis, or a combination of trading one of them and renouncing either Meyers Leonard or Maurice Harkless. Basically, one of them isn't coming back for certain and perhaps even two if the Blazer go after Ezeli hard enough.
Right now it looks like the Blazers may be weighing the opportunity costs of picking up the 26-year old center.
Word from Festus Ezeli camp: "Waiting to see" about the Blazers, who have yet to hear from Neil Olshey.— Jason Quick (@jwquick) July 4, 2016
There are a variety of factors at play.
Source close to Ezeli says he has interest in Blazers, but has "several" possible suitors. Presumably, Blazers are waiting on Gasol decision— Joe Freeman (@BlazerFreeman) July 4, 2016
As news becomes available we will update this article.