The Portland Trail Blazers will enter the free agency period Sunday night with a little heads up on who's interested in coming to town.
Last week when Carl Landry opted out of the final year of a two-year, $8 million deal with the Golden State Warriors to become a free agent, he did so knowing he was underpaid and knew the chances of Golden State being in position to pay him what he is worth was slim.
However, he hasn't closed the door on Golden State, saying returning to the Bay Area is his No. 1 goal and he cannot recall ever being on a team that was so connected.
But he has to be realistic with himself. The Warriors payroll is piled high with guaranteed contracts and they are hoping to be major players in the Dwight Howard sweepstakes.
According to Landry, there are about six teams he believes will pursue his services and the Trail Blazers are expected to be one of them.
“Portland is a team that has been interested for a while and the feeling is mutual,” Landry told CSNNW.com. “Their fans are unbelievable, like the Warrior fans. They sell out every game. They have a good franchise player in L.A. [LaMarcus Aldridge], Damian [Lillard], Wes [Matthews], Nic [Batum] and Meyers Leonard is a good player. Their GM, Neil Olshey, is making all the right moves. They are headed in the right direction.”
This will not be the first time the Trail Blazers and Landry have flirted with one another.
During the offseason in 2011, Landry publicly campaigned to be a Trail Blazer, resulting in the organization eventually offering him the full mid-level exception. However, Landry would sign a hefty one-year, $9 million contract with the team now known as the New Orleans Pelicans.
Landry, 29, appeared in 81 games for the Warriors last season and averaged 10.8 points, 6.0 rebounds in 23.2 minutes per game as a reserve. The power forward shot 54 percent from the field and 81 percent from the charity stripe.
With the Trail Blazers having only one true power forward on its roster, albeit that's one good power forward, Portland acquiring Landry could make sense this time around.
“I'm a player. It doesn't matter where I play or when I play,” he said. “I'm a player that can help a team win games. When L.A. needs a sub, I got him. I'm just grateful for opportunity to play basketball. As long as I'm being productive, that's all that matters to me.”
If LaMarcus is somehow traded, would that have an affect on your desire to play for Portland?
“If LaMarcus leaves, that's a huge weight that was lost, but I still think the team would definitely be in the playoff hunt,” Landry said. You're going to get some good players and value for LaMarcus, so I don't think him leaving really changes anything in my mind. But I don't think he leaves.”
Portland will have anywhere between $11.6 - $12 million in cap space available for free agent pursuit. Landry's position isn't a dire need such as the center position.
Olshey reiterated on Thursday night, after the draft, that it is important to know players want to come to Portland. And that's the case here.
“I'm open,” he said. “I'm open to listening to Portland and other teams. That's why I made the decision to opt out, to make sure I made the best decision for me and my family. At this stage in my career, I'm just looking for security. I think I've outplayed my previous contract and now I'm just looking for fair market value. I want a deal that's going to have me with a team for a while. Something over two to three years. If it's in Portland, that would be great.”