Portland Trail Blazers General Manager Neil Olshey says the evaluation process is complete in regards to backup point guard Eric Maynor.
Olshey has thoroughly evaluated Maynor since they acquired him at the trade deadline from Oklahoma City and found that he meshes well with their core pieces. He is pleased with what he's seen, but there are other factors that must be weighed before deciding on whether or not the team will tender the guard a qualifying offer, making him a restricted free agent this offseason.
“At this point, we know where things stand with Eric and how he fits with our roster composition,” Olshey told CSNNW.com. “Now it's all about how certain variables play out.”
Those variables include whether or not the team keeps its 2013 first round pick, being that it's top-12 protected. If the Trail Blazers are not among the bottom 12 teams in the entire league, the pick goes to the Charlotte Bobcats.
Portland is in great position to keep it.
Another thing to keep keep in mind: Maynor's qualifying offer is worth $3.35 million and it contains a sizable $5.85 million cap hold that would eat up a significant amount of the Trail Blazers' cap space this summer.
The Trail Blazers are set to have anywhere from $11.8 - $13.1 million in cap room to work with.
If the qualifying offer is issued, would Maynor sign his name on the dotted line? Or does he believe he can get more out on the open market?
“I got seven games left,” Maynor said. “When the summer comes, that's when I'll start talking about it more. I'm not really dealing with it right now. That's my agent talking to Neil, talking to other teams. I'm just concentrating on basketball and taking it from there.”
Maynor's calming influence and steady play has definitely been a breath of fresh air for the organization and for Damian Lillard. However, the team may have a more dire need.
The Trail Blazers lack a true center that clogs up the middle and history proves that you have to overpay for bigs in this league. Opponents average 40.5 points a game in the paint against them, fourth worst in the league. A true center will likely be the team's top priority.
But what center is realistically out there for the Trail Blazers to snag that is considered a “moving the needle” type of player? There isn't a Roy Hibbert out there this time around.
Denver's Timofey Mozgov, San Antonio's Tiago Splitter and Phoenix's Jermaine O'Neal would be solid additions as all three protect the paint pretty well and would serve as a mentor to Meyers Leonard.
Though, those players are not game-changers. Portland may need to pursue other avenues beyond free agency to acquire a center that can fill the void at a difference-making level.
They are not equipped with a ton of high-figure assets, but they will have the ability to execute a lopsided trade, taking on extra salary than what they sent out.
Teams looking to shed salary will surely touch base with the Trail Blazers inquiring about such.
“We'll be very proactive this summer,” Olshey said. “What we've seen this season is that this team isn't very far away. We'll have the flexibility to make a move if we choose to do so or not, but it has to be the right move for the organization.”
There's no doubt in my mind that there will be some new exciting players added to next year's team, keeping the acceleration process in tact. Just keep in mind that it may not be the big names you were expecting.