The Portland Trail Blazers went all in and made several moves last season to strengthen their roster. But key injuries derailed their campaign and the franchise narrowly managed to make the playoffs in the Western Conference. Now the Blazers are likely to consider more meaningful NBA trade options.
NBA Trade Rumors: 3 players unlikely to return for the Portland Trail Blazers for the 2020-21 season
The Portland Trail Blazers had the largest wage bill in the NBA last season and they would want to avoid that situation this time around. This would mean letting several players leave in free agency or via trades while looking for economical options using the midlevel exception. In any case, a few roster changes are expected.
On that note, let us look at three players unlikely to be back with the Portland Trail Blazers for the 2020-21 season.
#1 Hassan Whiteside
Hassan Whiteside's $27.1 million expiring deal was one of the major reasons why the Portland Trail Blazers didn't hesitate in taking a chance with him. Whiteside averaged 15.5 points and 13.5 rebounds for the Blazers during the 2019-20 season. He also managed a league-leading 2.9 blocks per game.
As great as a rim protector he is, Whiteside is very one-dimensional on defense. He isn't the most physically imposing player and his intensity comes and goes every once in a while. In any case, re-signing Whiteside won't be too cheap and the Portland Trail Blazers have a lot of depth in the forward's department. They are better off using their midlevel exception to pursue a solid wing.
#2 Carmelo Anthony
What many considered to a panic signing eventually turned out to be a get-out-of-jail card for the Portland Trail Blazers. Carmelo Anthony enjoyed a good run with the Blazers as injuries to the likes of Rodney Hood and Zach Collins added to his playing time. Melo averaged 15.4 points and 6.3 rebounds per game last season.
Now a free agent, Anthony has shown his willingness to re-sign with the Portland Trail Blazers. However, he also wants to play as a starter while the Blazers may see him as somewhat of a role player with several forwards set to return from injuries next season. Also, he'll be much more expensive than the veteran's minimum for which he signed with the Portland Trail Blazers last season.
#3 Mario Hezonja
After a few promising years with the New York Knicks, Mario Hezonja signed a two-year deal with the Portland Trail Blazers last summer. Bluntly put, Hezonja hasn't managed to have a positive impact on the Blazers. He averaged a career-low 4.8 points last season and wasn't too useful on defense either.
Hezonja has a $1.9 million player option for 2020-21 which he'll most likely exercise. But as mentioned, the Blazers will have several better options than him to play at the forward's spot so don't be surprised if the franchise trades him for a second-round pick or to create additional cap room.