Festus Ezeli became an unrestricted free agent when the Golden State Warriors rescinded their qualifying offer. According to the latest NBA rumors, the Portland Trail Blazers are interested in signing Ezeli and they are currently discussing a potential deal.
The 26-year-old center was one of the casualties in the Warriors’ successful pursuit of Kevin Durant. He is expected to get a near max contract or something similar to what the Los Angeles Lakers gave to Timofey Mozgov.
According to Jason Quick of CSN Northwest, Ezeli arrived in Portland on Thursday to have a medical and discuss a potential deal with the Blazers. However, it should be noted that Ezeli is also in talks with multiple NBA teams.
Portland has been linked with the several centers in free agency like Hassan Whiteside and Dwight Howard but they signed with the Miami Heat and Atlanta Hawks, respectively. The Blazers were also rumored to be interested in acquiring Nikola Vucevic but the Orlando Magic seems to be going with a three-center rotation next season.
Chris Crouse of Hoops Rumors noted in his report that the Blazers will have to choose between Ezeli and matching the $70 million offer sheet the Brooklyn Nets gave to Allen Crabbe. Portland already signed Evan Turner to a $70 million deal so Ezeli might be the priority.
The former Warriors center played great last season, with the exception of the NBA Finals. He can rebound well and play good defense but his skills on offense are limited. There are also concerns about his ability to stay healthy as he only played 46 games each of the past two seasons,
Ezeli also missed the entire 2013-14 season after undergoing surgery on his right knee. Nonetheless, teams are still interested in signing him. Besides the Blazers, the Boston Celtics have also been linked with the Nigerian big man.
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