Blazers: a good project with very limited movements

Portland closed its season in the Western finals against the Golden State Warriors. The fifth NBA wage bill faces its future.


Portland Trail Blazers closed this past dawn its journey through the NBA playoffs. Golden State Warriors swept 4-0 in the Western Conference finals to a team that was always there, close to scratch a victory to the current champions, but that never managed to close meetings whose advantages in their favor were between 10 and 20 points with two quarters (or less) just ahead. Again and again, those of the Bay (without Durant, without Cousins, without Iguodala today) they managed to leave in nothing the enormous work done by their rival.

A constant slip that does not tarnish the work done this season by a team that has added its sixth consecutive playoffs under the command of Terry Stotts, which already links seven seasons in the bench. The coach has led a magnificent reconstruction that began in the summer of 2015 with the departure of four starters: LaMarcus Aldridge, Nicolas Batum, Wesley Matthews and Robin Lopez. Only Damian Lillard followed ... and took each and every one of the gallons. From the lieutenant to the captain general, and the bet has not gone badly.

La new sheet and paint applied to each position of the initial roster gave immediate results, reaching its zenith this course with the finals of the West. Although the investment has not been cheap: Blazers are the fifth highest wage in the NBA, according to Basketball Reference, with 132.5 million dollars in salaries. Only Miami, Golden State, Oklahoma and Toronto outperform a franchise that has already committed 126 million for the next course.

A large amount dominated by Lillard's 29.8 million (it is expected to sign a renewal for 191 million and four years this summer), the 27.5 of McCollum ... and the 18.6 of Evan Turner. The forward, a shadow of what was expected for a number two draft, joined his decent last year in Boston, the needs of an isolated market and the inflated contracts of 2016 to sign amounts now impossible to understand, and that weigh on Some measure a future project that can be slowed down this summer.

Changes in staff

The Blazers come to free agency with the need to do some retouching in their initial quintet if they want to give the final push to take them to the Finals with very small maneuver margins. The small forward position, dominated by Mo Harkless, could be improved as well as the power forward, which has occupied an Al-Farouq Aminu contract that ends this July. A situation repeated by Rodney Hood, Seth Curry and Enes Kanter. The three have made a playoffs more than worthy, with moments of greater or lesser importance: Hood was key in the duel of the three extensions against Denver and Kanter did a commendable job against Steven Adams. In addition to the Turk, Meyers Leonard and Zach Collins were up to the task in a very difficult to interpret: the absence of Jusuf Nurkic.

The economic problem joins another more devilish: it seems that nobody wants to go to Oregon. The state, there, on the Pacific coast and only separated from Canada by Washington is not much admired by the NBA players. It is a small market, its parties almost always occupy the last hours of the day and do not win a ring since 1977. Facts, more or less quantifiable, that clash with a higher reality: Blazers are a model organization configured during the 30 years Paul Allen, who died just before the start of this season, and who has one of the most committed stars in the NBA: Lillard is planning to extend his contract for four years, until 2025. He would close his stage with 34 years. Pros and cons that create an uncertain future in Portland.



Photos from as.com

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