With the trade that sent guard Allen Crabbe to the Brooklyn Nets, plus the rumored plan to waive Andrew Nicholson, the Portland Trail Blazers may gain an open spot on their roster. Haley O'Shaughnessy of The Ringer gave suggestions of NBA veterans, a few of which could be considered for that spot.
The name that stands out the most for Blazers fans is a player that has been a thorn in the team’s side for years in guard Tony Allen. As O’Shaughnessy writes:
Allen is a six-time All-Defensive Team selection. He’s a lockdown technician, Kobe Bryant’s least-favorite guard to square up against, the Grindfather, a Memphis institution, and a free agent. He’s also 35 years old and can’t shoot in a shooter’s league.
The advanced stats do not lie. Since Allen entered the league with the Boston Celtics in the 2004-2005 season, he has never had a defensive win shares lower than 1.0, topping out an amazing 4.1 in the 2012-2013 season with Memphis. For perspective, only ten players managed higher numbers than that last season, including every candidate for Defensive Player of the Year.
Other names still available on the market include the Bulls’ Nikola Mirotic and Minnesota’s Shabazz Muhummad.
Possibly the biggest remaining name on the market is Nerlens Noel. He has seemingly reached an impasse with the Dallas Mavericks, with both sides sitting on the Mavs’ $5.8 million qualifying offer.
The 23-year-old entered the offseason with maximum contract hype; now-stale reports that other teams planned to extend him that money made Noel seem like a must-have target. He never got those offer sheets, or at least never signed any. Without the market jacking up his fee, Dallas found itself in a position to have its 6-foot-11 cake and eat it, all for half the price.
There are very few scenarios where the Blazers could land Noel or Mirotic, who are restricted free agents. But their late-August availability without a significant offer is somewhat representative of the unusual 2017 NBA Free Agency market.
[Blazer’s Edge reader RipCity47 recently wrote about a very similar concept. Check out his thoughts in his Fanpost.]