Pros and cons of extending Nassir Little

the Portland Path Blazers chosen Nassir Little with the twenty fourth decide within the 2019 NBA Draft after the North Carolina product reportedly slipped down everybody’s boards. Since then, he has performed 138 (or 65 p.c) of a doable 228 video games, largely as a consequence of a random collection of accidents, precluding what remains to be thought of uncommon athletic expertise.

However regardless of his obstacles, the 22-year-old has nonetheless been capable of present very apparent glimpses of the participant he might be. Whereas his profession averages of 5.8 factors on 31 p.c capturing, 3.4 rebounds and 0.7 assists do not appear overly spectacular, he has proven the power to tackle critical scoring duties and essential defensive assignments.

I believe everybody remembers Little’s efficiency in an away loss towards the milwaukee {dollars} in February 2021, the place he scored 30 factors on 71 p.c capturing from 3 factors, 6 rebounds, 1 help, 1 steal and a couple of blocks. In January, he confirmed himself towards the atlanta falcons on the Moda Heart with the Blazer prevailing due to a 22-point efficiency, recording 80 p.c from three, 9 rebounds, 2 assists and 1 steal. On protection, he most notably and impressively stifled Chicago Bulls star DeMar DeRozan within the latter levels of a Blazers’ residence win final November.

Conveniently for Little, he is presently the one true ahead on the Blazers’ roster, standing between 6’6 and 6’7 and reportedly bulkier than what we have seen in earlier years. The Blazers seem to have little or no selection in beginning Little in any respect three, hoping his physique can face up to the trials of an prolonged workload over a full NBA season. A fairly large request for somebody who has barely been capable of keep on the ground and, due to this fact, within the rotation.

contract standing

If Little can string collectively a full season this season, he’ll enter 2023 restricted free company in demand, if just for the truth that he performs a place of necessity within the fashionable NBA. Clearly, the Blazers can match any supply made to the wing, however these numbers might be above something they’re keen to pay to proceed constructing this roster round Damian Lillard.

Alternatively, Little might succumb to harm once more this season, discovering his companies far much less interesting and consequently reducing his value. If he can present some type of consistency, I’ve little doubt the Blazers want to preserve him, however one other rehab season might severely jeopardize his future NBA prospects.


The dialogue of a small extension was raised final week by Jake Fischer from Bleacher Report final week. At the moment, the query is whether or not the Blazers and Little’s agent, Adam Pensack, can work out a mutually helpful deal. Certain, guaranteeing Little’s long-term monetary safety at a value acceptable to the Blazers’ current and future could be nice for the franchise.

Simpler mentioned than achieved.

Little does he have to know that he’s paid for the manufacturing he can present, whereas the Blazers want to guard themselves from any long-term harm.

4 years, with a crew possibility or partial/no guarantee within the fourth might be the perfect place to start out. This provides the Blazers the chance to decide out early or present a sweetener to a enterprise associate if Little strikes, no matter whether or not he can play.

For Little to simply accept a deal, he should think about that he’s receiving a minimum of $10 million a 12 months and, realistically, a minimum of $12 million. “Why?” I hear you ask. Effectively, whereas accidents and diseases have hampered her contribution, her potential and people little hints of contribution mentioned earlier nonetheless make him a lovely possibility.

We additionally should remind ourselves that the cap will enhance within the coming years, so a contract of round $12.5 million might truly be lower than future mid-level exceptions. If Little is ready to keep in form, he’ll virtually definitely outpace him, and if not, he is nonetheless an affordable wage drag in future trades.

So as an example if a deal is finished it is within the vary of 4 years, $50 million, with a crew possibility within the closing 12 months.

Poison Tablet Provision

Simply as a reminder, this provision arises if a crew extends a participant’s rookie-scale contract after which adjustments it earlier than the extension goes into impact. The participant’s incoming worth to the receiving crew is the typical of his present 12 months’s wage and the annual wage in every year of his extension. As an alternative, your present crew merely treats your present 12 months’s wage because the outgoing determine for comparability functions.

So if the Blazers prolonged Little this summer time, the supply would apply if he was traded at subsequent 12 months’s commerce deadline. Which means any deadline deal involving Little would see the Blazers pay his present wage of $4.1 million. Nevertheless, the receiving crew would tackle just below $11 million, assuming the four-year, $50 million extension.

That is one thing Basic Supervisor Joe Cronin will little doubt concentrate on as he continues to construct this crew all year long and into February.


The advantages of extending Little are fairly apparent. The Blazers guarantee a possible entry-level participant that, if he is in form, he’ll beat a contract, prone to keep under the midlevel exception earlier than it expires.

It additionally advantages Little. For a teenager who hasn’t but loved constant court docket time, no less than $37.5 million in assured cash appears fairly tempting, particularly if he spends the following three years within the palms of the physician and on the sidelines. If Little will get via the deal, he’ll be capable of negotiate a brand new extension or extra profitable contract at age 25 or 26, simply as he enters his prime.


The Blazers have not been given a lot to imagine that Little can play a full season. They’ve additionally simply secured the companies of Shaedon Sharpe, a younger man who, hopefully, you will notice, I’m not committing to something, will be capable of fill an analogous place and at a better degree.

Some may say it would not be notably clever for the franchise to commit to 2 younger wings for 4 or 5 years when neither of them has proven any actual means to contribute on the degree the crew wants. Little could by no means be wholesome, and whereas $12.5 million a 12 months is not grotesque, he handcuffs the Blazers significantly if he would not truly play.

There may be additionally a disadvantage for Little. As mentioned earlier, if he manages to remain wholesome and attain the potential we have all hoped he would attain, he’ll not solely beat his deal, however the Blazers will get away with a steal of the best magnitude. Certain, he could commerce once more in a couple of years, however a break in 2022-23 prevents him from incomes the equal of his contribution for some time.


I do not know what’s being mentioned between the Blazers and Little’s illustration, however you’d should think about all the above will issue into the ultimate choice. Proper now, Little will virtually definitely begin at small ahead for the Blazers, just because he is the one actual small ahead on the roster.

If Little desires to guess on himself, he might get a variety of consideration and some huge cash in July 2023. But when his physique fails him once more, future contracts might be minimal, or possibly not even exist. Certain, the latter might be an exaggeration, nevertheless it is perhaps purpose sufficient for him to place pen to paper this summer time.

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