Stotts chose to make last season his final one, and what a way to go out — packing two NBA Championship rings. The Trail Blazers will go in search of a coach with a similar perimeter-centric system.
The Trail Blazers have a team option to consider for center Jusuf Nurkic. If Portland exercises to bring him back, they will be on the line for $21.21M. Only problem is Portland would still be over the cap even if Nurkic was not brought back.
If Portland exercises the team option and Nurkic is brought back for one more year, then can seek to trade to fill future needs (and at least get something out of the investment).
Important: If brought back, and not intending to re-sign the following year, Portland MUST have another option at center.
HEAD COACH — With Stotts’ retirement, the Trail Blazers need a new head coach who runs a perimeter-centric system.
SMALL FORWARD — SF Trevor Ariza and his $15M contract will leave Portland. With NO cap space, Portland can only go after a replacement through the non-tax payer Mid-Level Exception which would allow them to offer up to a $9.25M salary for a small forward free agent. Which players will fall within that salary range expectation?
If center Jusuf Nurkic’s team option is exercised, Portland should look to trade so that we get something out of his final year. Losing Nurkic means we’re losing 12.9 PPG, and 9.9 RPG. Nurkic started 43 games last season and stepped in for whenever Whiteside was injured. Whiteside played in 66 games, and Nurkic provided solid offense as a replacement.
We wanted small forward Jason Tatum but he is far out of reach due to our lack of cap space.
Trade CJ McCollum in 2022-23 season? The dynamic duo have proven themselves and captured two NBA titles. Time to build for the future? McCollum will be making $33M as an 85 overall 29-year old. Expect a decline in 23-24. Wait until we see how the season is going before considering a trade for McCollum.