The Portland Trail Blazers have been very busy this off-season, retaining almost their entire second-round 2015/2016 team including Damian Lillard, CJ McCollum, Meyers Leonard among others.
Branding the team isn’t the only way to keep butts-in-seats, having a good team is the most sure fire way to all but guarantee a sell-out audience in Portland.
The Blazers Biggest Moves This Off-Season
- Allen Crabbe $74.8 million guaranteed
- Evan Turner $ 70 million guaranteed
- Meyers Leonard $ 41 million guaranteed
- CJ McCollum $ 106 million guaranteed
- Festus Ezeli $ 15 million guaranteed
What does this mean for the salary cap? The NBA cap is expected to rise to over $90 million next year thanks to the multi-billion dollar television deal signed in 2014. Mid-level players are set to earn what used to be max deals. In 2017, the Blazers will have $104,709,320 in salaries, including over a million in non-active player salary cap hits, which is over the cap currently listed at $94,143,000. Thus, total salary, including tax, is $118.5 million in 2017 alone.
Whew. Would that I had $120 mil to throw around each year like Paul Allen.
The Blazers clearly think it is worth it. I gasped at the Evan Turner deal, I’m still not sold on it, but Olshey has proven he knows how to find and keep talent. The bigger potential issue here is whether Turner can mesh with Lillard and CJ. They’re the stars of this team.
The Blazers have gone big in a short time frame, paying out big bucks to players, and betting on immediate finals-worthy returns as soon as possible. Hard to argue with this approach, if you’re an owner that has billions of dollars to burn. Some have offered this team is the deepest the Blazers have ever enjoyed– not sure if we can argue something like that, but a potentially great team is on the verge of putting it all together.
It is hard to know if Stotts has it in him to help the current roster gel even more, but if he can build on last years’ success, and everyone *knocks on wood* stays healthy, the Blazers have a real chance of making serious moves in the Western Conference.
For kicks, ESPN has the Blazers winning two more than last season and ending at 4th in the West.
As last season’s surprise, our panel sees further progress for a Portland team that spent serious dough this summer to keep its roster intact. The Blazers spent just north of $290 million dollars this offseason on new deals for C.J. McCollum, Allen Crabbe, Meyers Leonard and Evan Turner. And with Damian Lillard’s five-year, $139.9 million contract kicking in this season, Portland is going all-in to return to contention in the West.