While the Portland Trail Blazers are clearly more focused right now on their first-round NBA Playoffs matchup with the New Orleans Pelicans, it’s never too early to look ahead to the offseason. HoopsHype’s Frank Urbina has put together a list of four potential landing spots for Tyreke Evans and Brook Lopez this summer if both become free agents. Portland made the list for both players.
Of Lopez to Portland, Urbina notes that it would only make sense if Portland doesn’t re-sign Jusuf Nurkic, which at this point seems unlikely. Nonetheless, he makes the case for Lopez as an alternative option:
The 30-year-old’s aptness as far as spacing the floor may be a better fit with the likes of Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum anyway, and could provide a boost to Portland’s 15th ranked offense from 2017-18.
As far as what type of deal the Blazers could give Lopez, unless they’re able to clear one or two of their more questionable contracts (the primary candidates being Meyers Leonard and Moe Harkless), all Portland would have to offer the veteran center is the non-taxpayer mid-level exception (MLE), which is projected to be worth about $8.6 million.
A two-year, $17.2 million agreement would make sense for both parties, though it would hard cap Portland for 2018-19. Regardless, they may be willing to take that risk provided they land an experienced talent like Lopez, who would fill an important need.
Of Evans to Portland, Urbina notes that while the versatile Evans makes sense from an on-court perspective, the Blazers would likely have to get him via the mid-level exception, which may not be enough to draw the 28-year-old to Portland. Of the potential fit, he writes:
Clearly, the Blazers could use the services of another bucket-getter, especially one who can help space the floor for Lillard and McCollum like Evans would be able to.
In 2017-18, the current Grizzly produced 1.08 points per possession (PPP) on spot-up opportunities, a mark healthy enough to place him in the NBA’s 75th percentile. As a team, Portland scored 1.02 PPP on such looks – the No. 16 mark league-wide.
What’s more, the Blazers’ bench ranked 13th in net rating at an all-too-average +0.1, another area Evans could improve if Stotts chooses to keep starting Al-Farouq Aminu and Evan Turner at the two forward spots.
Lopez averaged 13.1 points, four rebounds and 1.4 blocks per games for the Lakers this season, shooting 46.8 percent from the field and 34.3 percent from three. Evans averaged 19.4 points, 5.1 rebounds and 5.2 assists per game for the Grizzlies, shooting 45.2 percent from the field and 39.9 percent from distance.
Blazers fans are sure to remember Lopez’s twin brother, Robin, who played for the Blazers for 2013-2015 and became a fan favorite.
Does Lopez or Evans make sense for Portland to pursue? Who would you like to see come to Portland this summer (keeping in mind the team’s financial limitations)? Let us know in the comments.