Notes: Gomes is gone, Ferry wants in

Ryan Gomes spent less than five days as a Portland Trail Blazer.

The Blazers decided to waive Gomes on Tuesday after acquiring the veteran forward in a draft-day deal last Thursday,

The 6-foot-7, 250-pound Gomes was originally acquired in a trade with Minnesota. Portland received Gomes and the draft rights to forward Luke Babbitt, the No. 16 overall selection in the first round of the 2010 NBA Draft. In return, the Timberwolves picked up forward Martell Webster.

But while the Blazers hope Babbitt will be a longtime fixture who can immediately provide improved perimeter shooting, Gomes was acquired — and waived — primarily because of salary cap issues.

The 27-year-old Gomes was set to make $4.2 million next season with a contract that ran through 2013. By releasing the former Providence standout, the Blazers avoided a clause that would have guaranteed the final years of Gomes’ contract, which would have totaled almost $14 million.

Now, Portland will be below the luxury tax component of the salary cap as a 12:01 a.m. Thursday tipoff approaches for the start of free agency.

The decision to release Gomes strengthens a statement made Tuesday by Michael Born, Blazers director of NBA scouting, who said that Portland will likely target the point guard and wing positions during free agency.

The trade of Webster, coupled with the release of Gomes, leaves the Blazers temporarily thin at small forward.

Nicolas Batum holds down the starting position. But the current back up would be Babbitt, who only spent two years at Nevada before declaring for the NBA. Portland guards Brandon Roy and Rudy Fernandez are able to play small forward, but both are primarily guards, and Roy is the team’s starting shooting guard. Meanwhile, forward Dante Cunningham lacks the outside shooting touch required of most NBA small forwards.

The Blazers are above the salary cap and are not expected to be major players in free agency. But the team could add a veteran small forward with the mid-level exception, which is expected to be worth about $5.7 million.

Ron Artest, Trevor Ariza and Rasheed Wallace all signed with teams
last season via the MLE.

Danny Ferry has serious interest in the Blazers’ general manager position, a source close to Ferry informed The Columbian on Tuesday.

The source has direct knowledge of Ferry’s situation, but is not authorized to publicly comment.

Ferry was the GM in Cleveland from 2005 until June 4, 2010, when he chose not re-sign with the Cavaliers. The former Duke standout is under contract with Cleveland through July 1.

The Columbian reported last week that Ferry had been contacted by search firm Spencer Stuart about the Blazers’ GM job, while former Portland GM Kevin Pritchard still held the title. Pritchard was then fired last Thursday, before the start of the 2010 NBA Draft.

Reached by phone last Wednesday, Ferry said he could not comment about the position and did not want to be involved in any related discussion because he was still under contract with the Cavs.

Blazers president Larry Miller has acknowledged that the Blazers are going through a search process to find a new GM. But Miller said he does not want to put a timeline on the search, while adding that the team is still in the early stages of vetting candidates.

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