Trail Blazers Waive Skylar Mays, Ish Wainright

The Trail Blazers waived guard Skylar Mays and forward Ish Wainright, according to a release from the team.

Neither Mays nor Wainright had full guarantees on their contracts and, facing a Jan. 7 deadline before those contracts became fully guaranteed, Portland decided to cut the pair loose.

As our tracker shows, Mays’ contract was partially guaranteed for just $850K and would have been guaranteed for approximately $1.86MM if not waived before Sunday. Wainright’s contract would have been guaranteed for roughly $1.93MM.

Because Wainright was on the roster for 75 days and will be on waivers for two more, the Blazers will carry a cap charge worth about $853K for his time spent on the team (77 days multiplied by a $11,080 salary per day), assuming he goes unclaimed on waivers, according to ESPN’s Bobby Marks (Twitter link).

Mays joined the Blazers on a 10-day contract late into the 2022/23 season, appearing in six games (all starts) and averaging 15.3 points and 8.3 assists from late March through the end of the season. He signed a two-way deal in early October, which was converted to a standard contract in mid-November as Portland dealt with injuries to their ball-handlers.

The LSU product put up some impressive performances in November while Portland’s roster was banged up, averaging 11.1 points and 6.4 assists in 26.3 minutes across nine games from Nov. 3-21. However, he fell out of the rotation when the Blazers got healthier and averaged just 11.1 minutes in eight appearances after that.

Portland claimed Wainright on waivers just before opening night after the Suns cut ties with him after two seasons. The 29-year-old forward was one of the older players on the roster, behind only Malcolm Brogdon and Jerami Grant. However, Wainright only appeared in seven games with the Blazers, averaging 2.9 points in 6.6 minutes per night. His best moments with the team came in his last two appearances, in which he totaled 17 points, including five three-pointers.

Wainright has averaged 3.4 points per game in 112 career appearances with the Suns and the Trail Blazers.

Waiving Mays and Wainright opens up two standard roster spots for the Trail Blazers, bringing them below the threshold of 14 players. Teams are not permitted to carry fewer than 14 players on standard contracts for more than two weeks at a time — or more than 28 total days — so expect to see more moves for Portland soon.

While this theoretically opens up roster spots in the event a trade brings in more players than they send out, the trade deadline is still a month away, and the more likely short-term option is the Blazers making moves around the edges of the roster. A 10-day signing (or two) is one possibility.

For what it’s worth, players on two-way contracts see their deals fully guaranteed on Jan. 7 too. The Blazers have Duop Reath, Ibou Badji and Justin Minaya on two-way contracts. Reath, in particular, has earned a prominent role on the Blazers, averaging 8.3 points in 21 games. It’s possible he earns a standard deal now that Portland has two open roster spots.

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