With all eyes turned to the offseason in the Rose City, thoughts turn to what the Portland Trail Blazers will be able to do to take a step forward next year.
Tim Bontemps of the Washington Post offered five questions in need of answers regarding Portland’s potential off-season plans.
The biggest question he asked was the question that seemingly everyone has asked since President of Basketball Operations Neil Olshey spent a collective $186 million on Evan Turner, Allen Crabbe, and Meyers Leonard over the next four seasons: how can the team shed salary to get below the luxury tax threshold?
As of now, the team has twelve players taking up $131 million in guaranteed contracts.
Bontemps’ solution might not be a popular one, but may end being the most realistic scenario:
“So what can the Blazers do? Well, Portland likely will be exceedingly active at the NBA draft. Would, say, the Brooklyn Nets be interested in a first-round pick enough to take on Meyers Leonard’s contract (three years, $30 million remaining)?
It will be surprising if Portland doesn’t move on from at least one of the big contracts it handed out last summer to try to lower its tax bill.”
Bontemps also contemplated what can be done about Turner, who averaged 9.0 points and 3.8 rebounds this season—his worst full-season totals since his rookie season in 2010-11—while shooting just 26 percent from 3-point range.
While Turner could be moved in the above-mentioned draft scenario, giving away a first-round pick to exorcise one of the season’s biggest signings cannot look good for the front office.