Chris Haynes: Blazers free agency predictions
Editor's note - Monday night updates:
- Wojo Report: Olshey meets with Spencer Hawes & agent
- Mo Williams interested in Dallas Mavericks
With the NBA free agency period set to begin at 9 p.m. tonight for teams on the west coast, the Portland Trail Blazers are figured to execute their plan of attack sharp and swiftly from the onset.
At this stage, organizations already know who their targets are and for small market teams such as Portland, it’s vital that at the opportune time to hit their main prospects to bombard them with a full-court recruiting press.
General Manger Neil Olshey and his staff will be on top of their game, but the million-dollar question is where do they take their game to first?
The Trail Blazers only have the midlevel exception and the biannual exception at their disposal this summer with at most, two roster spots available. It is important that they be pragmatic in whom they pursue, so not to waste any precious time. Time is of the essence.
The city of Portland is still reeling from a remarkable season in which the team exceeded all expectations with a 55-win season to cap it off with a second round appearance. The team is on the upswing, but need a few more pieces to sustain an upward trend.
Sunday night when CSNNW.com asked All-Star point guard Damian Lillard if there are any free agents of his preference, first and foremost, he went with his dynamic backup.
“Yeah…Mo Williams,” Lillard responded in a text.
Williams is a free agent after he elected to decline his player option for next year. He was a consequential part in the team’s +23-win jump from a year ago. He wants to re-sign with Portland. His wife and kids love it here. I'm told the free-agent guard has no meetings set with other teams. "His only goal is to get something done with Portland,' said a source.
After last season, Williams said he is seeking a three-year deal and it remains to be seen if that will be problematic.
Olshey and head coach Terry Stotts are huge fans of Williams and recognize the value he provides, so there’s favor in that regard.
But there’s other needs the team must address. When pressed for other players he’d like the team to bring in or at least look at, Lillard sent a response text that included four names.
“Channing Frye, Vince Carter, Spencer Hawes, Trevor Ariza,” read Lillard’s text in that order.
The Trail Blazers could sure use all of those players as each fills a void. Big-man depth and wing depth was an issue. The most intriguing name in that list is Frye. He played two seasons in Portland and loved it so much that he bought a home. He spends most of his summer time in Portland.
In Stotts’ system, he’d be a natural fit with his ability to stretch the defense with his long-range shooting ability. However, he would likely require the full midlevel being that he declined a player option of $6.8 million to become a free agent.
Carter is “open” to the idea of coming to Portland and helping boost the bench up, we’re told by someone close to the veteran guard. Dallas is the clear frontrunner, but his mind is nowhere near made up.
Ariza is a long shot being that he’s still starting-quality. Hawes could work considering he’s a Pacific Northwest native. Rumors have linked him to the Trial Blazers the last couple of years.
All are prospects that should at least receive a courtesy call from the Trail Blazers if nothing else. But one thing you should be aware of during the free agency period: expect the unexpected. It’s going to be sheer pandemonium.
This has been Lillard’s wish list, to a certain degree. We’ll see how things play out.