PORTLAND, Ore. — During an appearance on "The Dwight and Aaron Show" on 620 AM on Wednesday, Trail Blazers general manager Neil Olshey talked about the team's offseason roster building, including the Blazers' activity in trying to make trades and the likelihood of the team using their traded player exceptions.
Are the Blazers done this offseason?
"Hopefully we’re not done building the roster. We’re still trying to be very active. Even to date, it’s been very slow in terms of trade transactions. A lot of it has just been people handling their business with free agency. Hopefully, things like trades and bolstering rosters with players with a longer track record come into play."
Will the Blazers use the trade exception?
"We’ll see. I think, part of the frustration is, we spoke with a lot of teams about utilizing it before the draft and teams weren’t ready to move on their established players at that point. They wanted to see what they drafted and then got into free agency.
"I’ve got multiple calls about it in the past few days, but the calculus has changed a little bit because we have added some perimeter players which was clearly the need. We extended Jusuf Nurkic’s deal. There are major cap implications and tax implications [that] Paul [Allen] is never going to shy away from, it’s just right now, the bar is that player is going to have to be good enough and have a high enough impact on the roster to justify, basically a 3X cost, you’re going to end up tripling the salary based on the tax.
Editor's note: Olshey is right. If the Blazers absorb a player who makes $12 million, for example, into their trade exception (which expires July 25), that contract would actually cost the Blazers about $30 million after luxury tax payments. The higher you go over the luxury tax threshold (set at almost $124 million this season), the more punitive the tax payments become. To learn more about the luxury tax, read Larry Coon's FAQ on the NBA salary cap.
"We’re actively looking to use that, but we’re also actively looking to make trades across the board. The nice thing about the trade exception, even if it isn’t just a clean absorption of a player into the exception, there are deals where we’re dealing with an imbalance of what we convey and what we receive back, and having those two trade exceptions to absorb a contract that may not work, math-wise, within the 125 percent, gives us more deal-making flexibility."
Will the Blazers guarantee Wade Baldwin's contract?
Editor's note: If Baldwin is not waived by July 18, his contract for the 2018-19 season becomes fully guaranteed. He's been one of the best players in summer-league competition, averaging 14.3 points, 8.0 assists, 4.3 rebounds and 2.3 steals through three games.
“It really just comes down to him continuing to do what he’s done these first three games out here in Vegas and secure that last roster spot. He’s a unique player. He has the ability to be an elite defender with his length and quickness and athleticism. The shot-making is coming around.”
LISTEN: Neil Olshey, full interview