The Portland Trail Blazers will face an important offseason as the team continues its efforts to compete for a championship during the Damian Lillard era. Portland will have decisions to make about its own roster heading into NBA Free Agency, like whether to guarantee Trevor Ariza’s contract for next season. Even if they decide to keep the veteran wing, Dan Favale of Bleacher Report believes the team should target Heat forward Jae Crowder with their Mid-Level Exception:
Like the Nuggets before them, any pursuit of Crowder depends on how the Heat handle his free agency. If they don’t have an issue footing the bill for a multiyear deal or can convince him to sign for one season at an inflated price tag, it’s game over. The door only opens for the Blazers—and other MLE squads—if Crowder wants a three- or four-year pact worth more in sum than Miami is willing to pay him next season alone and if the Heat are so obsessed with 2021 free agency that they refuse to saddle themselves with longer-term money.
Portland will face competition for Crowder if Miami lets him test the market, which isn’t a guarantee, but the Blazers could woo the forward with a long-term contract, starter-level role, and the ability to play with Lillard:
In the event Crowder is available within their price range, the Blazers will have to contend with, roughly, everyone else. He fits just about everywhere. Offering a four-year pact might separate them, but that could also be the standard. Their ability to offer a starter’s spot and accompanying minutes, along with the fact they have player-you-want-to-play-with Damian Lillard captaining their ship, will do more for their sales pitch than the dollars and cents.
Crowder has played for six teams during his eight seasons in the league. In 20 games with his current team, the Heat, he’s averaging 11.9 points, 5.4 rebounds and 1.3 steals per game while shooting 44.5% from deep on 6.4 attempts.
Should the Blazers pursue Crowder with their MLE? Do you think he would be interested in Portland? Let us know in the comments.