Coming off their thrilling win over Oklahoma City, the Trail Blazers would face the Kevin Durant-less Golden State Warriors. But what started out as a ‘hopeful’ upset turned into being swept out of the playoffs. What made it worse was the fact that Portland blew multiple late game double-digit leads in the series. Despite Enes Kanter’s surprising play, the Blazers will welcome back Jusuf Nurkic with open arms.
Like Milwaukee, Portland faces a big offseason in relation to their own roster. The face of the franchise, Damian Lillard, is eligible for the supermax. Handing out supermax contracts can turn out to be a curse. Just ask the Washington Wizards about John Wall’s contract. Lillard’s backcourt mate, CJ McCollum is also eligible for an extension but, even if offered, will he take it?
The Blazers can offer a 3 year-$114M dollar extension with two years left on McCollum’s deal. But, one could argue, McCollum could get more on the open market. Why be in a rush to sign? It signs a lot like Bradley Beal’s situation except McCollum is playing for a playoff team.
Other free agents are Kanter, Al-Faouq Aminu, Rodney Hood, Seth Curry, and Jake Layman. On the surface, it would be in the Blazers’ best interest to re-sign Aminu, Hood, and Curry. They can afford to let Kanter and Layman walk.
What isn’t in question is their leadership. The Blazers have already extended president of basketball operations, Neil Olshey, and head coach Terry Stotts.
If the Blazers supermax Lillard that makes it very hard to make changes external to the roster with the exceptions of making exemption-based deals. Teams have been really hampered by the supermax and there are questions if Lillard would except less than that.
With the Golden State Warriors having their own free agent questions and Houston’s Daryl Morey talking about blowing up their roster, this is an important time for the Blazers. Along with the Denver Nuggets, the Blazers have a chance in the West if the Warriors lose Durant.