With 13 roster spots taken, Neil Olshey and the Blazers had one avenue left to improve the team through free agency: the taxpayer mid-level exception (TMLE).
Due to re-signing Norman Powell, the Blazers had just the taxpayer mid-level exception and minimum contracts to give out in free agency. After signing Cody Zeller, Ben McLemore and Tony Snell, the TMLE remain unused, until today.
Michael Scotto of HoopsHype reports the Blazers signed second-round rookie Greg Brown III to a three-year, $4.3 million deal with a non-guarantee in the final season.
As pointed out by Eric Griffin, the Blazers used part of the TMLE to sign Brown in order to get his Bird rights.
Olshey did a similar maneuver when signing Gary Trent Jr., a move that paid off paving the way to acquire Norman Powell.
Portland still has around $4 million remaining of its TMLE to use, but after Kelly Oubre and Nicolas Batum reportedly rejected the Blazers' offer for the full TMLE, the team likely will not use it. Jason Quick of The Athletic has already reported as much.
The Blazers acquired the 6'9" Brown by trading for the 43rd overall pick in the 2021 NBA Draft. He's incredibly athletic but is not close to being a rotation player this season. As an end of the bench developmental piece, he's a solid swing, but using the TMLE on him when the franchise's star demands to contend this season seems questionable.
However, if the franchise saw no one worth giving a TMLE contract to, securing Brown's Bird rights seems smart.
During Summer League, Brown is averaging 10.0 points, 4.3 rebounds and 1.0 steal over 18.5 minutes per game in Las Vegas on 54.2% shooting and 30% from three-point range.