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Retaining Powell Tops Blazers’ Offseason To-Do List

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In a team-by-team breakdown, Bleacher Report’s Grant Hughes explained that keeping Norman Powell should be the Trail Blazers’ top priority.

2021 NBA Playoffs - Portland Trail Blazers v Denver Nuggets Photo by Bart Young/NBAE via Getty Images

Once the 2021 NBA Playoffs conclude, the Portland Trail Blazers will have a considerable to-do list to work through in the offseason. Pending free agents, extensions and potential trades are just a few items that the Blazers must address.

When it comes to free agency, Bleacher Report’s Grant Hughes explained that Portland should keep it simple and focus on retaining Norman Powell.

The Portland Trail Blazers project to be well over the 2021-22 cap, which means their avenues for adding outside talent in free agency are limited. That’s probably why they swung a deal for Norman Powell, a player who can and should decline his player option for next year, but whom the Blazers can re-sign using Bird rights.

That’s going to get costly, but Portland had to know that when it acquired Powell. It’s hard to believe the Blazers viewed him as a rental—especially considering it cost them Gary Trent Jr. to get him.

Outside of the Blazers’ hypothetical shopping list, Hughes mentioned Zach Collins as a potential target for the rebuilding Thunder.

Let’s assume OKC holds off for at least one more rebuilding season, which means no major expenditures or win-now trades until at least the summer of 2022—at which point it will have probably just added another high lottery pick to the one coming in this year’s draft.

That would put the emphasis on youth, potential and cost control during 2021 free agency, and injury-plagued Zach Collins fits in all three categories. The 23-year-old played just 11 games in 2019-20 and missed all of this season recovering from a stress fracture in his ankle. When healthy, the 6’11” big man has shown flashes of long-range shooting, rim protection, intriguing perimeter agility and even some irrational confidence. Those are all compliments, even the last one.

Collins suited up for 11 games in the 2019-20 regular season. Following an ankle injury that required surgery, Collins missed the entire 2020-21 season.

You can read the full team-by-team breakdown from Hughes at Bleacher Report.