I’m a former NBA first-round pick – I left the league in 2017 but will be paid $2.8m by Portland Trail Blazers this year

ANDREW Nicholson is still on the Portland Trail Blazers payroll – even though he’s been out of the league since 2017.

The 6-foot-9 Canadian forward, 33, is owed $2.8million this year.

The Portland Trail Blazers are still paying ex-Orlando Magic and Washington Wizards forward Andrew Nicholson seven years after waiving him
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The Portland Trail Blazers are still paying ex-Orlando Magic and Washington Wizards forward Andrew Nicholson seven years after waiving himCredit: Getty

The Magic picked Nicholson at No. 19 overall in the 2012 NBA Draft
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The Magic picked Nicholson at No. 19 overall in the 2012 NBA DraftCredit: Getty
In fact, Nicholson has been pocketing that amount every year since 2017.

A year earlier, the former No. 19 overall pick hit free agency for the first time after averaging 6.5 points and 3.0 rebounds for the Orlando Magic in the previous four seasons.

The ex-St. Bonaventure standout signed a four-year, $26million contract with the Washington Wizards.

But the Wizards traded him to the Brooklyn Nets during his first season with the team.

The move allowed Washington to acquire another sharpshooter in Bojan Bogdanovic, bolstering the roster with hopes of making a deep playoff run.

However, the rebuilding Brooklyn quickly moved on from Nicholson as well, sending him to the Blazers in exchange for Allen Crabbe during the following offseason.

Aiming to save money, Portland traded Crabbe to get rid of his humongous $75million contract.

But they remained over the luxury tax threshold – and so they waived Nicholson and then stretched the remaining $19.9million on his contract to spread out his salary over the next seven years.

That saved the Blazers about $5.6million in luxury tax for the 2017-18 season.

On the flip side, they have been operating with $2.84million in dead money for the last seven years in order to pay off Nicholson’s contract, limiting their salary cap flexibility in that span.

This is the last year the Blazers will send a paycheck to the Ontario-born forward, who’s been playing in China in South Korea since leaving Portland.

Nicholson made the headlines in the US earlier this year, courtesy of Golden State Warriors star Draymond Green who complained about Nicholson being drafted 16 picks before him in the 2012 NBA Draft on Podcast P with Paul George.

“Honestly, it’s kind of unfortunate and I see it as an insecurity on his end,” Nicholson responded.

“I didn’t know he was thinking about me for the last 11 years — I wasn’t thinking about you, I’m going to be honest with you.”

And he added: “But the most unfortunate part about it is that for me, as an individual and as a person, I see the guys in my draft class like Anthony Davis and Damian Lillard, those guys who are actually succeeding – Draymond was one of them too, I was happy to see him succeed.”

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