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The season of the pen

In busy opening day of free agency, Trail Blazers in thick of the action

Updated: July 5, 2012, 11:23 PM ET
By John Hollinger | ESPN.com
It has been an exciting opening day of free agency, and the Portland Trail Blazers have been at the forefront. The Blazers factored into all four major deals that were fully or nearly consummated on Sunday, and it's time to take stock of just what happened and where it's headed.

First and foremost, the Brooklyn Nets signed Gerald Wallace -- after trading the sixth overall pick to Portland for Wallace and his Bird Rights in the spring -- to a four-year, $40 million deal that appears to be fully guaranteed. It's still not quite clear why the Nets felt the need to trade a high lottery pick for Wallace when they had more than enough cap space to sign him to this deal and still keep the sixth pick.

Even after allowing for this contract, a max deal for Deron Williams (if he returns) and cap holds for Brook Lopez and Gerald Green, the Nets would still have $8 million left over to re-sign Kris Humphries or pursue another free agent, such as Steve Nash. They'd also have the under-cap midlevel exception to use after that, presumably on Jason Kidd in their dream scenario. However, it seems that New Jersey is also exploring an above-cap scenario, in which they trade assorted flotsam to Atlanta for Joe Johnson, use their midlevel exception on Bosnian forward Mirza Teletovic (15.41 translated player efficiency rating this past season for Caja Laboral Vitoria), and re-sign all their own free agents.

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