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Examining Free Agency For Blazers’ Power Forwards

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What does the offseason look like for Derrick Jones Jr., Zach Collins, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, and Carmelo Anthony?

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

As the actual offseason gets underway, John Hollinger of the Athletic takes a look at the options for the NBA’s power forwards in free agency, including the Portland Trail Blazers’ Derrick Jones Jr., Zach Collins, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, and Carmelo Anthony. Hollinger uses his BORD$ formula to attempt to establish the actual worth of a player in the upcoming season. Here, he compares his BORD$ numbers to the possible salary implications for next season, starting with Jones Jr., who fell out of the rotation at the end of the season. To Hollinger, both Jones and Collins fall into the midlevel.

5. Derrick Jones, Jr. Blazers (player option): $8,264,796

Derrick Jones Jr. has a player option for $9.7 million that I suspect he’ll invoke after he gradually fell out of the Blazers’ starting lineup due to his lack of offensive punch. While BORD$ is keeping the faith, it seems likely Jones will be a trade target for a Portland team that will be trying to upgrade the roster while staying out of the luxury tax.

Meanwhile, Hollinger admits it’s difficult to pinpoint how much Collins could be worth due to his unfortunate string of injuries.

7. Zach Collins, Blazers (restricted): $7,839,102

What’s a fair valuation for Zach Collins at this point? He seemed on his way to becoming a plus backup, if not a long-term starter, before a series of injuries sent him sideways, but has only played 11 games over the past two seasons. Collins required additional foot surgery after the season, leaving his availability for the start of next year in doubt. That health history puts a major damper on his free-agent market and leaves one to wonder if the Blazers will even submit a qualifying offer for $7.4 million on him. Collins might be best off signing a one-year deal with Portland, rehabbing his injury and entering next summer’s market as an unrestricted free agent with full Bird rights.

The Trail Blazers acquired Hollis-Jefferson late in the season, and Hollinger characterizes him as a player who is right above the minimum but not quite up to the midlevel, as demonstrated by his BORD$ valuation.

23. Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, Blazers: $2,930,448

Rondae Hollis-Jefferson only played 11 games last season after signing with Portland late. His inability to shoot from the perimeter has sidetracked his career, but his defense, energy and ability to convert shots in the paint still packs some value. The 26-year-old had a solid 2019-20 season in Toronto and could be a valuable bench energizer in the right situation.

And at not quite last, Carmelo Anthony comes in at worthy of a minimum deal, according to Hollinger.

26. Carmelo Anthony, Blazers

Melo’s renaissance in Portland has been a great story, but he’s kind of the opposite situation from Tucker — a player whose offense remains adequate but defensively gives it all back. Anthony shot a career-high 40.9 percent from 3, but the Blazers were far too indulgent with left-block post-ups for him; he made only 42.9 percent of his 2s, dragging down his overall efficiency.

With Portland trying to reshape the roster and actually stop people on defense this year, one wonders if Anthony will be part of the picture in Portland, or if he’ll be looking at a minimum or biannual exception deal someplace else that needs a bench scorer.

You can read the entirety of Hollinger’s power forward rankings here (subscription required).