Trail Blazers Notes: Little, Domingo, Billups

As we noted on Tuesday, Nassir Little‘s four-year, $28MM deal with the Trail Blazers features the lowest average annual value of any rookie scale extension since Jeremy Lamb inked a three-year, $21MM contract in 2015.

Explaining his decision to accept a relatively modest long-term extension offer, Little said the new deal gives him “security” and “peace of mind,” as Sean Highkin of The Rose Garden Report details in a Twitter thread.

“For me, it’s more money than I make now, it’s more money than I’ve ever made in my life,” Little said. “I can bet on myself to make more money, but I don’t play this game just to make money. I have $28 million on the table, I’ll just take it.”

With a strong, healthy season in 2022/23, Little likely could’ve done much better as a restricted free agent next summer, which he acknowledged in his comments to reporters. However, he’s comfortable with opting for stability instead of attempting to maximize his earnings.

“I’m not gonna lie, I think my talent level is worth more than that,” Little said of his $28MM contract, per Highkin. “But with me having an injury history, and them still taking a chance on me, I want to be here. I’ll probably perform at a level that’s worth more than that, but being in Portland is what I want.”

Here’s more on the Blazers:

  • Little’s four-year extension is a win-win for him and the Blazers, Jason Quick writes for The Athletic. While Portland is in position to get a potential bargain on a rotation player through 2027, Little can relax and not have to worry about playing for a contract this season. “You’ll have guys tell you that contract years are stressful years and I just think for me, it takes a lot of weight off my shoulders,” Little said. “Just a lot of anticipation goes away, so now I can just focus in and secure stuff for myself and my family. I should be good for the rest of my life.”
  • The Trail Blazers have made a new addition to their front office, announcing today in a press release that they’ve hired BJ Domingo as director of player personnel. A former scout for the Bucks, Domingo became the assistant director of the U.S. men’s national team in 2021 and will help bolster Portland’ “global scouting efforts”, according to general manager Joe Cronin. “BJ has evaluated talent at the pro level, collegiate and amateur ranks while developing great relationships across the world,” Cronin said in a statement.
  • Chauncey Billups‘ first season as a head coach went about as poorly as possible, as his superstar (Damian Lillard) played just 29 games, the man who hired him (Neil Olshey) was dismissed less than two months into the season, and a team with playoff aspirations won just 27 games. However, as Bill Oram of The Oregonian relays, Billups is unfazed by how year one played out and looking forward to showing what he’s capable of in year two.
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