Originally written on NorthWest Sports Beat  |  Last updated 10/19/14
PDX looks toward future The Portland Trail Blazers are in the midst of a massive rebuild, and as a result, a few of the young prospects on the team now find themselves in a year of uncertainty. The Oregonian’s Jason Quick announced nearly 24 hours before the team’s season opener that the team has opted to decline team options on Elliot Williams, Nolan Smith and Luke Babbitt for the 2013-14 season. Blazers decline options on Eliott Williams, Nolan Smith and Luke Babbitt according to GM Neil Olshey — Jason Quick (@jwquick) October 30, 2012 This announcement shouldn’t come as a surprise to most avid fans, but it’s still a telling statement regarding the future of everybody involved. What It Means For the Players All three players have the potential to make a roster next season, but at this point, it doesn’t look like it’s going to be with the Trail Blazers. Luke Babbitt will become an unrestricted free agent in 2013. Photo Credit Bruce Ely/The Oregonian Elliot Williams is currently rehabbing from his third season-ending surgery in three years, Nolan Smith is the second or third string point guard on the roster and Luke Babbitt has been about as one-dimensional as it comes in Portland. Their roles on this year’s team—with the exception of the injured Williams—remains to contribute energy night in and night out. This squad is a fringe playoff team at best, and all players must pitch in night in and night out, even if there’s a strong possibility they won’t be around next season. The youngsters now find themselves in an unexpected contract year, and if they can begin to make a name for themselves in Terry Stotts’ up-tempo system, they could earn a new pay day somewhere else by the time the year is done. What It Means For the Team Picking up the option on a player’s rookie contract is usually a no-brainer, but the three players who missed the cut this time around don’t fit the long-term plan for the Trail Blazers organization. Babbitt, despite impressing late last season, has yet to prove he was worthy of the 16th overall pick in 2010. Smith has also underperformed since arriving in Portland, and Williams simply can’t stay healthy enough to see the floor. The Blazers are rebuilding, and when it comes to stockpiling talent, you need two things: roster spots and cap space flexibility. The team recently waived Adam Morrison, Coby Karl, Dallas Lauderdale, Justin Holiday and Demonte Harper, and by now letting the three prospects walk after this year, the Blazers will be saving approximately $6.8 million (according to HoopsHype). The 2012-13 roster is set, but if the team is going to improve throughout this rebuilding process, they need to be smart about the decisions they make and the players they bring on. Portland took another step toward improving the future with this decision, and with a strong free-agent class set to make headlines next summer, a little extra cap space could go a long way in 2013. CLICK HERE TO CHECK OUT THE BLAZERS BLOG IN OUR CLUBHOUSE TODAY AT NWSB!
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Report: Kobe has prevented Lakers from signing top talent

Red Sox may be ready to move Yoenis Cespedes

Alleged details of War Machine's suicide letter released

Austin Davis says Rams security didn't recognize him

LeBron: Bulls are 'much better' than Cavs right now

Redskins to stick with Colt McCoy over Kirk Cousins

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Rick Pitino: Louisville will beat FSU in football

Report: Rams considered favorites to move to LA

Kobe to Julius Randle: You’re an idiot if you (expletive) this up

Slava Voynov arrested on D.V. charge, suspended indefinitely

Report: Ray Rice could be reinstated within next month

Earl Thomas: Refs need to stay out of it and let us dominate

10 NBA players who could be traded by the All-Star break

WATCH: Jimbo Fisher gets annoyed, cuts interview short

WATCH: Les Miles has classic reaction to dumb question

WATCH: Tennessee coach tried to trip Ole Miss player?

News station congratulates Gary Payton for breaking TD record

Did Sidney Crosby troll Flyers fans with Halloween costume?

Why Dan Mullen is not leaving Mississippi State

12 amazing stats from Week 7

World Series preview: Will Giants or Royals win it all?

NFL tweets graphic of recipients of Manning's 509 TD passes

Hockey fights of the week

10 takeaways from NFL Week 7

Trail Blazers News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Details of War Machine's suicide letter leaked

Angry Jimbo Fisher cuts off interview

Is Kobe's deal hurting the Lakers?

Tenn. coach tried to trip Ole Miss CB?

GGG continues his reign of terror

The 6 things that mattered this weekend in the premier league

News station congratulates Gary Payton for TD record

Ray Rice could be back by Week 10?

12 amazing stats from Week 7

World Series preview

Favre: I got calls about playing last season

10 takeaways from NFL Week 7

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.