The Trail Blazers will have to navigate through tight margins this summer in hopes of building a roster capable of returning to the Western Conference Finals. Portland has to make a series of tough decisions on how to pursue their own players who are careening toward the open market.
Of those players approaching free agency, Bleacher Report’s Dan Favale suggests that keeping Al-Farouq Aminu onboard should top the Blazers’ to-do list.
Aminu carries a herculean defensive load for the Blazers. He’s not touted as a lockdown stopper, but he is their bridge between wings and bigs. Kemba Walker is the only other player this season who guarded as many pick-and-roll ball-handler possessions (199) and post-ups (92).
Favale goes on to explain that Aminu’s postseason struggles could provide a lifeline to the Blazers’ hopes of keeping him under contract at a reduced price.
Affording him now gets a teensy bit easier for the Blazers following his postseason brickfest. They have his full Bird rights, but they’ll blow past the luxury-tax line if he secures an annual salary close to his $13.2 million cap hold. A deal worth around or under $10 million per year would be more manageable and perhaps increase the likelihood Portland aggressively uses the $5.7 million mini mid-level exception.
Prior to he 2019 NBA Playoffs, Aminu started in 81 regular season contests for the Blazers. He posted averages of 9.4 points and 6.1 rebounds per game.
You can read Favale’s complete look around the NBA at Bleacher Report.