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Nicholson’s Dead Money Complicates Blazers’ Books

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In a league-wide look at less-than-ideal cap situations, Bleacher Report NBA contributor Grant Hughes highlighted Andrew Nicholson’s place on the Blazers’ cap sheet.

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Following the summer of 2016, the Trail Blazers owned a rent-free place on the majority of the “bad contract” lists that NBA pundits produced. With those moves now in the rearview mirror, Bleacher Report’s Grant Hughes went in a different direction inside his list of contracts that teams would like to dismiss.

Instead of focusing on the players currently on Portland’s payroll, Hughes pivoted to the dead money that Andrew Nicholson adds to the Blazers’ books. Nicholson was waived and stretched after he was shipped to Portland in a deal that sent Allen Crabbe to Brooklyn.

Fortunately for us but unfortunately for the Blazers, Andrew Nicholson is collecting $2.8 million per year through 2024. No team wants to spend money on a player who isn’t on the roster, but that’s what Portland is stuck doing after waiving and stretching Nicholson’s contract back in 2017.

While $2.8 million may not sound like much in a league where the cap is over $100 million, it’s still an expenditure with literally no return. Think of it as a wasted minimum roster spot every year for seven years. That’s worse than paying a lot of money for a very good player who might not be an ideal fit.

Outside of the Blazers’ payroll, Hughes examined a familiar trade target when detailing the Cavaliers’ situation. Kevin Love, who was an integral part of Cleveland’s title runs, is weighed down by the size of his contract.

This is a great example of the way a contract can change how a player is perceived. Love is a steady scorer who can stretch the floor at the forward spot and add intriguing dimensions to an offense with his excellent passing. Yet that contract is the first point of discussion in any analysis of Love or the Cavs’ roster.

If Love were making $15 million per season, he’d be on every contender’s shortlist of trade targets. But he’s not, and is instead one of the toughest players in the league to move.

You can read the full list from Hughes at Bleacher Report.