The Blazers roster could look very different next season
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The Blazers put together a highly improbable run to the Western Conference Finals this season. It was a run that Blazers fans will never forget. Repeating that same success next season may be easier said than done. Portland has some key players hitting the free agent market and doesn't have a lot of money to work with. Can they bring all the pieces back? That remains to be seen. But until then, here is a quick breakdown of who is under contract, who is entering the last year of their deals, and who is hitting the open market...
The Dynamic Duo returns
2018-19 Stats: 25.8 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 6.9 apg
Contract Status: Lillard signed a five-year contract extension in 2015 and has two years meaning on the deal. He will be on the books for $29.8 million next season
2018-19 Stats: 21.0 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 3.0 apg
Contract Status: McCollum signed a contract extension in 2016 and has two years left on the deal. He will be on the books for $27.6 million next season.
The Blazers core duo is under contract for next season and seasons to come after that. Lillard made All-NBA Second-Team, meaning the could sign a supermax deal this offseason, locking him in for an even longer time in Rip City. If this playoff run proved anything, it's that McCollum and Lillard are certainly a pairing worth keeping together.
The Bosnian Beast completes the Big Three
2018-19 Stats: 15.6 ppg, 10.4 rpg, 3.2 apg
Contract Status: Nurkic signed a four-year, $48 million deal with the Blazers in 2018. He has three years left on the deal and will be on the books for $12 million next season.
Nurkic is under contract through 2021-22, but won't be on the court to start the 2019-20 season. After suffering a horrific leg injury late last season, Nurkic has a long road to recovery and getting back in the Blazers lineup. However, there is no question that he is a part of the Blazers "Big Three" and paired with McCollum and Lillard is one of the Blazers key building blocks. Needless to say, he isn't going anywhere.
Core guys returning with one year left
EVAN TURNER - 2018-19 Stats: 6.8 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 3.9 apg. Turner is on the books for $18.6 million next season
MEYERS LEONARD - 2018-19 Stats: 5.9 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 1.2 apg. Leonard on the books for $11.3 million next season
MAURICE HARKLESS - 2018-19 Stats: 7.7 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 1.2 apg. Harkless is on the books for $11.5 million next season.
Harkless, Turner, and Leonard all signed big deals in the summer of 2016 and enter next season with one year left on those deals. Harkless has long been the Blazers starting small forward, while Leonard and Turner have been rotational players for coach Terry Stotts. Last year's trade deadline showed the value of expiring deals, so it will be very interesting to see what happens with these three this offseason and as we approach next season's trade deadline. Are they entering there final year in Portland?
The rookie deals
ANFERNEE SIMONS - 2018-19 Stats: 3.8 ppg, 0.7 rpg, 0.7 apg. Simons is on the books for $2.1 million next season.
GARY TRENT JR - 2018-19 Stats: 2.7 ppg, 0.7 rpg, 0.3 apg. Trent is on the books for $1.4 million next season.
SKAL LABISSIERE - 2018-19 Stats: 3.0 ppg, 2.0 rpg, 0.5 apg. Labissiere is on the books for $2.3 million next season.
ZACH COLLINS - 2018-19 Stats: 6.6 ppg, 4.2 rpg, 0.9 apg. Collins is on the books for $4.2 million next season.
The Blazers have four players on the roster still playing on their rookie deals, with Zach Collins being the only one that saw solid minutes this season. Collins wants to be a starter, and could very well be the power forward of the future in Portland. During exit interviews, players and coaches raved about the potential of Anfernee Simons. Depending on how free agency plays out, he could see a much larger role for this team next season. As for Trent and Labissiere, they will have a lot to prove this July at the Las Vegas Summer League.
Longtime Blazers hit the open market
AL-FAROUQ AMINU - 2018-19 Stats: 9.4 ppg, 7.5 rpg, 1.3 apg
JAKE LAYMAN - 2018-19 Stats: 7.6 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 0.7 apg
Al-Farouq Aminu just finished his fourth season with the Blazers, the longest he has spent with one team, and Jake Layman just finished his third season in Portland. Both will be hitting the open market, but only Jake Layman will be a restricted free agent. Portland can match any deal offered to Layman, but Aminu will have the free choice to go where he pleases. Does Portland want to bring its starting power forward back and if so, can they afford to keep him?
"The New Guys" hit the market
ENES KANTER - 2018-19 Stats: 13.7 ppg, 9.8 rpg, 1.7 apg
SETH CURRY - 2018-19 Stats: 7.9 ppg, 1.6 rpg, 0.9 apg
RODNEY HOOD - 2018-19 Stats: 11.2 ppg, 2.2 rpg, 1.8 apg
The Blazers added Seth Curry during the offseason, added Enes Kanter and Rodney Hood midseason, and all three were crucial to the Blazers playoff run.
Kanter stepped up and filled the void left by the injured Jusuf Nurkic, while Hood and Curry offered a much-needed spark off the Blazers bench. Unfortunately, the Blazers don't appear to have the finances to keep these three around next season. In fact, they may not be able to keep just one of them. Can Neil Olshey work some magic to keep these key role players on the roster?