The Portland Trail Blazers are expected to pull off a few trades this off-season in an attempt to lessen their swelled payroll and avoid paying luxury tax. Unfortunately, with Alan Crabbe going down with a foot injury, it’s going to be really difficult for general manager Neil Olshey to shop the wing-man on the trade market.

The 25-year old Crabbe underwent foot surgery last week to fix a stress reaction of the fifth metatarsal bone in his left foot. He played 79 games (with 7 starts) last season, averaging 10.7 points, 2.9 rebounds and 1.2 assists in 28 minutes per game. The Blazers signed him to a 4-year, $74 million deal last summer after the Brooklyn Nets attempted to salvage him with an offer-sheet that would have paid the same amount.

Hoops Rumors writer Luke Adams considers Crabbe and Evan Turner as the most obvious trade candidates on the Blazers roster because of their lucrative deals (combining for more than $36 million in next year’s payroll). Unfortunately, trading either of them won’t yield that much value as both are coming off of mediocre seasons.

“The most obvious trade candidates on the Blazers’ roster are guys like Crabbe and Turner, whose 2017/18 salaries total more than $36M combined. But coming off mediocre seasons, those players aren’t exactly hot commodities right now, and their long-term contracts would be viewed as a burden by most teams,” as noted by Adams.

On the other hand, if the Blazers are desperate to move Crabbe, Olshey might consider attaching a second-round pick to make the trade package much more enticing.

The Nets are once again considered as a potential suitor for Crabbe, who could fill the team’s need for a reliable 3-and-D wing-man.

Noah Vonleh’s role moving forward

Vonleh once again had a so-so campaign in the 2016/17 season, where he averaged just 4.2 rebounds and 5.2 assists in 17 minutes per game.

While he improved his shooting clip to 48.1 percent and showed some flashes of brilliance throughout the season, the jury is still out on whether Vonleh is a keeper for the Blazers. The former no. 9 overall pick will enter the final year of his rookie contract, making the 2017/18 season a make-or-break year for his NBA career.

The rise of Jusuf Nurkic

Other than reaching the postseason, the highlight of the Blazers’ 2016/17 campaign was the emergence of Jusuf Nurkic as a key contributor for the team.

Nurkic, whom the Blazers acquired in a trade with the Denver Nuggets last February, averaged 15.2 points, 10.4 rebounds and 1.9 blocks since suiting up for the Blazers.

He will also enter the final year of his rookie deal next season, and thus he is eligible for a contract extension this off-season. However, with so many bad contracts on the payroll, it is very likely the Blazers will let Nurkic test free agency as an unrestricted free agent. After all, they can still retain his services by matching any offer sheet presented to him.

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