Potential free agent targets for Portland
Using the MLE
The Portland Trail Blazers don’t have a lot of money to work with in free agency, but they do have the Mid-Level Exception at their disposal. For a taxpaying team, the MLE is expected to be somewhere around $5.3 million.
With the Blazers in need of depth on the wing, here are a few players that fit the mold of what Portland is looking for, and could be nabbed with the MLE...
Wayne Ellington – 6’4”, 200lb SG
Career Averages – 8.0 ppg, 2.2 rpg, 1.1 apg
2017-18 Salary – $6.3 million
Ellington is interesting. While he could be in line for a raise, the MLE could also end up being his market value. Ellington scored a career best 11.2 points per game last season while shooting 39% from three point. He would be the perfect spark off the bench for the Blazers.
Anthony Tolliver – 6’8”, 240lb SF/PF
Career Averages – 6.5 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 0.9 apg
2017-18 Salary – $3.3 million
Tolliver was a Blazers once upon a time… He played two games for the team way back in 2009. While his first stint didn’t last long, now a grizzled vet, Tolliver would be a great fit. Portland is in need a good stretch-four, and Tolliver fits the bill. He has shot 37% from deep for his career, and last season he shot a career-best 44%. If Portland wants a big that can hit open shots, Tolliver is the guy.
Luc Mbah a Moute – 6’8”, 230lb SF/PF
Career Averages – 6.4 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 0.9 apg
2017-18 Salary – $2.1 million
Mbah a Moute had a good season for the Rockets, and would offer up that “3 and D” style of play Portland needs. While his three-point shot isn’t elite, it still gets the job done. Mbah a Moute connected on 36% of his three-pointers last season. He is very similar to Al-Farouq Aminu in his skill set, and his defense would be a welcomed addition to the bench unit.
Rodney Hood – 6’8”, 206lb SG./SF
Career Averages – 13.0 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 2.0 apg
2017-18 Salary – $2.4 million
Rodney Hood saw his stock plummet after a mid-season trade to the Cavaliers. Hood averaged 16.7 points with the Jazz, but saw that number fall to just 10.8 after the trade. However, Hood still has value on the open market. He may end up getting far more than the taxpayer MLE, but that shouldn’t stop Portland from taking a chance. Hood is 37% shooter from deep for his career, and can play above average defense. His size and speed also allow him to play and guard multiple positions.
Channing Frye – 6’11”, 255lb PF/C
Career Averages – 9.0 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 1.0 apg
2017-18 Salary – $7.4 million
Frye had one of the worst statistical seasons of his career last year, but much of that had to do with lack of usage. When given minutes he can still produce. He shoots nearly 40% from deep, and has a great mind for the game. Frye played for the Blazers from 2007-2009, and still calls Portland home in the off-season. It would be a perfect fit.
Marco Belinelli – 6’5”, 210lb SG/SF
Career Averages – 9.9 ppg, 2.0 rpg, 1.7 apg
2017-18 Salary – $6.3 million
There will be a lot of teams looking to add Belinelli, and for good cause. Belinelli is a constant threat to score the ball from three-point range and is also a decent defender. Last season with the Hawks and 76ers he averaged a career-best 12.1 points per game while shooting 44% from the floor, including 38% from deep. Portland needs bench scoring, and Belinelli is one of the better options on the market.
Ersan Ilyasova – 6’10”, 235lb PF
Career Averages – 11.0 ppg, 5.9 rpg, 1.2 apg
2017-18 Salary – $6 million
Ilyasova is another big that can hit the open jumper. Exactly what the Blazers need. Ilyasova is a near lock for about 10 points per game, and for his career is shooting 37% from deep. He can also be productive on the boards, which is always a plus. His skill set could put him in contention to be the starting power forward, and he would pair well alongside Jusuf Nurkic.