The Portland Trail Blazers’ morale has been pretty low lately. After suffering a stunning sweep at the hands of the New Orleans Pelicans in the first-round this spring, the organization has been doing a lot of naval-gazing. Not only have there been questions about whether it might be time for a front office shakeup and/or a coaching change; they’ve been forced to reconsider the question of whether Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum are a viable duo for the future.
After yet another early postseason exit, the organization went into the offseason facing a familiar set of obstacles, namely a disastrous cap sheet that wouldn’t allow them to be players for any major free agents. So, in an attempt to make up for overspending in previous summers, the front office is trying to be more fiscally responsible.
While that is probably a good overall approach in Portland, the execution of that plan hasn’t gotten off to the greatest of starts as it apparently meant passing on a chance to re-sign center Ed Davis, who was both a fan favorite in Portland and beloved by teammates. After news broke that on Saturday that Davis has signed a modest one-year, $4.4 million deal with the Nets, both Lillard and McCollum took to Twitter to express their disappointment.
The Blazers’ sudden penny-pinching is misguided, to say the least, especially if it potentially comes at the expense of sowing discord between the front office and their two superstars. Portland absolutely needs to shuffle around its roster and try to clear space for the future, but allowing Davis to walk for a $4.4 million deal given his productivity on the interior seems like the wrong application of newfound frugalness.
The organization’s real cap problems stem from the enormous deals they handed out to Even Turner and Meyers Leonard, both of whose contracts continue to hamper their ability to upgrade the roster and have become nearly impossible to move.
For now, they’ll have to move forward without one of their scrappiest players in the lineup and with only a minimal amount of cap space cleared because of it.