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Who Will Opt In or Out For the Blazers?

John Hollinger takes a look at what free agency could mean for Norman Powell, Derrick Jones Jr., and Jusuf Nurkic.

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Denver Nuggets v Portland Trail Blazers - Game Four Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images

Free agency starts on August 3rd, and for the Portland Trail Blazers, there are two players with player options, Norman Powell and Derrick Jones Jr., as well as one with a partially-guaranteed contract in Jusuf Nurkic. John Hollinger of the Athletic uses his BORD$ valuation to attempt to predict what those players might do this offseason. BORD$ attempts to establish what a player is worth.

Hollinger predicts that Norman Powell will be leaving the Blazers behind.

Norman Powell, SF, Portland $11,615,328; BORD$ value: $12,062,356

Norman Powell’s BORD$ valuation isn’t that different from his salary for next season, but he likely will be paid more than that based on the Bird rights trap the Blazers are in and the paucity of starting-caliber wing options on the rest of the market. Even if he weren’t, the chance to lock in long-term money with a three- or four-year deal likely wins out over whatever marginal improvement he could make in his market value with another year. Verdict: Opting out

Meanwhile, he expects Jones Jr. to stay.

Derrick Jones Jr., PF, Portland, $9,720,900; BORD$ value: $8,150,419

As with Richardson above, Derrick Jones Jr. was supposed to provide a vital defensive cog for an offensive team, and the fit didn’t work at all. He ended up getting DNPs by the end of the season and surely would prefer a new situation. However, like Richardson, he likely will be forced to opt in because of his diminished market value and will hope either a trade revitalizes him or the next Portland coach can find a better role for him. Verdict: Opting in

Hollinger admits his formula has limits when evaluating players like Jusuf Nurkic, who has missed time due to injuries. However, he thinks Nurkic will remain with the Blazers.

Jusuf Nurkic, C, Portland: $12,000,000 ($4,000,000 guaranteed); BORD$ value: $7,216,451

This BORD$ valuation is at the south pole of Nurk’s perceived market value, penalizing him for all the time he missed the past two years and some not-so-great defense upon his return. Even at that valuation, his contract rates as a non-terrible proposition, and the Blazers have no means of replacing him with their cap situation due to the Bird rights trap.

In fact, Nurkic’s contract may actually be too good a value, as it could impede the Blazers from extending his deal (they can only offer a 20-percent raise) before he becomes an unrestricted free agent next summer. Verdict: Picked up

Hollinger runs through all 38 players who have player options, team options, or some kind of guarantee. You can read the entire piece here (subscription required).