Trail Blazers Waive Festus Ezeli

The Festus Ezeli era in Portland is over. In a move that was long expected, the Trail Blazers have officially waived Ezeli, the team announced today (via Twitter).

Ezeli, 27, signed a two-year deal worth about $15MM with the Blazers last summer, with Portland envisioning him as a rotation player who could provide rebounding and rim protection. However, Ezeli’s troublesome left knee kept him out of action in the preseason and then the regular season as well — the veteran center ultimately underwent a season-ending procedure in March.

Although Ezeli’s contract was for two years, most of his $7.73MM salary for 2017/18 was non-guaranteed, and would have become guaranteed if he remained on Portland’s roster beyond June 30. The Blazers will now be on the hook for just $1MM of next season’s salary.

Ezeli will become an unrestricted free agent once he clears waivers, though it remains to be seen whether he’ll be back on the court to start the 2017/18 season. His knee surgery, which reportedly involved a cadaver donor, didn’t exactly sound like a routine procedure, but hopefully he’s able to resume his playing career.

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