I don't see that the Blazers would have had more flexibility last off-season or at the deadline if they hadn't signed ET. The Blazers are just a bit under the LT threshold of $119M. If they hadn't signed ET or another player in 2016, they'd still be at $103M, which is over the salary cap of $101M. They were literally in a position of lose it or lose it when it came to signing a FA that summer. The only greater flexibility they'd have had is not needing to cut Vonleh to get under the LT. It doesn't seem as though they've missed him much.