Per Jason Quick of The Athletic, the Portland Trail Blazers and Zach Collins will not be coming to terms on a contract extension before the December 21st deadline to do so. Collins will be entering the final year of his four year rookie contract. The 23 year old big man is currently out until at least mid-January after having ankle surgery shortly after the bubble concluded for the Blazers.
With all things considered, including Zach having two surgeries in the past year, this decision was not unexpected from either side. For the Blazers, it doesn’t make a lot of sense to overpay for Zach if he can’t prove to be healthy and ready to contribute long term on the court. If Zach comes back and plays well without getting hurt again then he will likely earn much higher contract offers next off-season, so waiting is the right move from his point of view.
This doesn’t mean that the Blazers have given up on Collins or don’t still see him as part of their foundation moving forward though. Much like with Gary Trent Jr, Zach’s return will be up to the team. Collins will be a Restricted Free Agent with Full Bird Rights in the 2021 off-season. This means that the Blazers will not only have the right to match any offers from other teams in free agency but they also don’t need cap space to bring him back. Passing on an extension at this time gives both parties another season to better gauge what fair market value will be.