Trail Blazers forward Noah Vonleh will be on the mend for at least the next three or four weeks, the team announced today in a press release. According to the Blazers, Vonleh underwent a procedure to remove a bone fragment from his right thigh musculature.
Vonleh, who turned 21 last Wednesday, is in an interesting spot this offseason. He started 56 games during his first year in Portland, but only averaged 15.1 minutes per contest, and posted underwhelming numbers (3.6 PPG, 3.9 RPG, .421 FG%). Vonleh is currently in the third year of his rookie contract, which means the Blazers will have to decide within the next two months whether they want to exercise their team option on the fourth year of his deal — it would pay him $3.505MM in 2017/18.
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Portland reportedly intends to use Al-Farouq Aminu exclusively at power forward – instead of small forward – this year, which could mean further reducing Vonleh’s minutes. The team also has an NBA-high $123.708MM in guaranteed money on its books for 2017/18, so exercising Vonleh’s option would push that total even higher, potentially beyond the tax threshold.
The former top-10 pick will likely want to have a strong showing in training camp and the preseason this year to help convince the Blazers that he’s still a part of the team’s future plans. In the wake of today’s procedure, he’ll have to get healthy first.