Notes: Blazers considering trading Gomes

The Portland Trail Blazers have not reached a decision about Ryan Gomes, and the team is considering trading him.

The Blazers have until 3 p.m. Tuesday to make a decision about Gomes, whom Portland acquired in a draft-day deal with Minnesota.

The Blazers have three options with Gomes: trade, keep or waive him.

Portland has explored the possibility of trading Gomes since acquiring him last Thursday, and the team will continue talks today.

The Blazers are excited about the potential of rookies Luke Babbitt and Elliot Williams. Portland also has realistic expectations, though, since Babbitt and Williams left college after their sophomore seasons. In comparison, former Blazer rookies Jeff Pendergraph and Dante Cunningham made significant contributions last season. But both had played four years of college ball.

With the draft-day trade of Martell Webster, the Blazers will now look to Cunningham as a player who can lock down an opponent’s top small forward and possibly bigger shooting guards. While Pendergraph made a strong early impact last season, Cunningham left the biggest impression. This, combined with his maturity and intelligence, has Portland hoping the former Villanova standout can eventually replicate Webster’s defensive intensity.

“Dante’s a tough kid. And we think he’s capable of maybe guarding some of those really good small forwards,” said Michael Born, Blazers director of NBA scouting. “And that’s a role that we’re going to maybe experiment with this summer.”

The Blazers will likely target the point guard and wing positions during free agency. A sign and trade or a multi-player package deal remain options. But it is more likely Portland will acquire 1-2 players with its mid-level exception, which is expected to be worth about $6 million. The Blazers also picked up a trade exception worth $500,000 when it traded Webster. Gomes’ future with the team will not affect the value of the exception, which cannot be combined with the MLE.

“When you talk to people in the league, we do have good young talent on pretty good contracts,” Born said. “So, people are interested in that. I think when you’re looking to do a sign and trade, that does help. We’ve got some guys on mid level-type deals, and we’ve got some pieces that are on good low contracts. And people like those players. It’s an advantage for us to have that.”

Born said him, Blazers director of college scouting Chad Buchanan and coach Nate McMillan will begin reaching out to prospective free agents July 1.

“We definitely have some guys,” Born said. “The landscape’s a little different for us than it was last summer. But we still have some guys that are identified that we are going to reach out to, and sort of see what their interest is in us. And hopefully add a player or two to our team that’s going to help us keep improving. “

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