The Trail Blazers expect to keep Tim Frazier, Cliff Alexander and Luis Montero past the close of business today, barring an unexpected trade, meaning their non-guaranteed salaries will become fully guaranteed, reports Jason Quick of CSNNW.com. An outside chance exists that the Blazers will use their league-high cap space of more than $20MM to absorb salary via trade and send out one or more of their trio of non-guaranteed deals in return, though that’s unlikely, Quick writes. Keeping them would give Portland 15 players with 15 full guarantees, limiting the team’s roster flexibility and bringing Frazier, Alexander and Montero one step closer to receiving bonuses of about $926K each if Portland fails to meet the $63MM team salary floor by season’s end, as Quick also points out.
Frazier has played the most prominent role for the Blazers among the three. He started a game against the Hawks last month when Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum were both unavailable, and he played nearly the full 48 minutes in a performance that impressed his teammates, as Quick wrote then. I speculated in the wake of that game that Frazier was probably safe. His contract, which he originally signed in March as a deal that covered the rest of the 2014/15 with a non-guaranteed 2015/16 tacked on, calls for him to make the one-year veteran’s minimum of $845,059.
Alexander was once a highly touted prospect in college whose stock plummeted before he went undrafted last year. He’s appeared on the court for all of 50 seconds since the end of November, and a bone bruise in his left knee that he suffered during the preseason didn’t help matters. Still, the Blazers appear poised to keep him and commit to his full-season salary of $525,093, the rookie minimum. Unlike Frazier, who’s set for restricted free agency after the season, Alexander’s contract runs through next season.
Montero played in only two of Portland’s first 29 games. He’s appeared in five of the nine the Blazers have played since then, though he’s yet to log more than six minutes in any single contest. The undrafted rookie shooting guard from the Dominican Republic, by way of Westchester Community College in New York, was a surprise offseason signing. His contract has him at the rookie minimum salary this season, with non-guaranteed minimum salaries for 2016/17 and 2017/18 also part of the deal. Like Alexander, he started the season with a $100K guarantee, though they’ve already earned more than that amount by virtue of sticking on the roster as long as they have.