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Examining the Blazers’ Luxury Tax Future

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The Athletic’s Danny Leroux details the hurdles the Trail Blazers must clear moving forward.

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NBA: New York Knicks at Portland Trail Blazers Steve Dykes-USA TODAY Sports

Barring a major change, the Trail Blazers will continue to own one of the NBA’s largest payrolls. Not including future picks and cap holds, the Blazers will be on the hook for $123.4 million after the conclusion of the 2018-19 season. With that figure in mind, The Athletic’s Danny Leroux detailed what President of Basketball Operations Neil Olshey will face moving forward.

Leroux explained that the passing of Paul Allen may complicate how the Blazers do business in the months ahead.

Sadly, Paul Allen’s passing could affect Portland’s approach to paying the luxury tax moving forward though hopefully the Blazers will continue to function as a team that defies the normal orthodoxy for non-major market teams. They are right up against the tax line before counting any of their pending free agents and will either need to retain Al-Farouq Aminu or replace him.

Depending on how much they spend on free agents, it may be possible to get below the threshold by trading or stretching Meyers Leonard or Evan Turner but the front office probably will not know where they stand until July at the earliest.

Along with the players mentioned above, forward Maurice Harkless’ eight-figure salary is another potential contract that could be moved to alleviate pressure.

You can read Leroux’s full story at The Athletic (subscription required).