Without a pick in either round of the 2014 NBA draft, the Portland Trail Blazers missed out on improving their roster. But as free agency fast approaches, the Blazers can make a mild splash and look to add some depth.
Portland has one of the league's best starting lineups, sporting an All-Star tandem of LaMarcus Aldridge and Damian Lillard surrounded by specialist role players like Wesley Matthews, Nicolas Batum and Robin Lopez.
But with such a strong starting unit, the Blazers had limited contributions from a bench that averaged just 13.7 minutes and 23.6 points—both of which are ranked dead last in each respective category per Hoops Stats.
As such, Portland's focus heading into the rest of the offseason should be on upgrading the reserve detail. Point guard Mo Williams, the team's most consistent contributor off the bench, has stated his desire to opt out but return on a longer deal, per a tweet from Joe Freeman of The Oregonian (h/t CBS Sports).
While it's probably a good move for the Blazers to try and hold on to Williams, how much the guard commands in salary could impact their flexibility when adding more role players. The team only has two open roster spots once Williams hits free agency; therefore, some of the following hinges on whether that happens or not.
In addition, Portland should look to waive little-used guard Allen Crabbe to open up another spot. He played in 15 games last season, averaging 2.2 points in 6.7 minutes. While Crabbe is likely to be part of the Blazers' Las Vegas Summer League roster, per BlazersEdge.com, there remains stronger and more experienced options.
Crabbe is owed just $862,000 next season, with his third year only partially guaranteed and the fourth hinging on a qualifying offer. After such a successful run in both the regular season and the playoffs, Portland should look to add players who can contribute immediately.
In doing so, the Blazers would have the luxury of sporting a deep and experienced bench. It was painfully obvious that Portland needed one desperately during the postseason after being easily beaten 4-1 in their series against the San Antonio Spurs.
In short, the Blazers could have up to three open roster spots heading into free agency if things are managed in a certain way. For argument's sake we'll assume Crabbe stays on board, but keep in mind it's a possibility that up to three players could be added.
As such, Portland's salary cap will sit at $62.1 million going into free agency. That puts them just below the projected 2014-15 salary cap limit of $63.2 million and well below the expected 2014-15 luxury tax line of $77 million.
In any case, the Blazers will have a slim margin of $1.1 million to offer a veteran free agent but will also be able to use the non-taxpayer mid-level exception of $5.3 million. That amount can be offered to a single free agent or split between two or more players. By that logic, some of those listed could be paired with another, or a single free agent could be signed outright for the full amount.
With all the technicalities out of the way, let's take a look at the plethora of players Portland could target in the 2014 offseason.