Ex. Denver Nuggets big man ‘could get moved’ in trade: Report

Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic and former Nugget Jusuf Nurkic. (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)
Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic and former Nugget Jusuf Nurkic. (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images) /

On February 13, 2017, the Denver Nuggets traded away Bosnian big man Jusuf Nurkic to the Portland Trail Blazers. The move was essentially Denver’s way of electing to develop Nikola Jokic over Nurkic.

The two had been on similar trajectories, and it felt as if the organization needed to pick one and move the other.

Nurkic spent two and a half seasons in Denver and appeared in 139 games for the Nuggets. During his tenure, he averaged 7.5 points and 5.9 rebounds per game.

Fast forward to September of 2023 and Nurkic could be on the move again.

According to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst, the Blazers’ center “could get moved’ in a trade somewhat soon.

“There’s some belief Jusuf Nurkić could get moved at some point. It may depend on what they get in the [Damian] Lillard trade,” Windhorst said on The Hoop Collective.

The future of Lillard has hung over the heads of the Blazers — as well as the entire league — all summer. It’s no surprise that Nurkic could be moved if Portland decides to enter a rebuild by trading away their star guard.

As for the big man, he’s set to make an annual average of $17.5 million through the end of the 2025-26 season. At 29 years old, his contract is pretty tradable, meaning another team wouldn’t be looking for draft compensation to take on the lump sum.

Looking back at the Denver Nuggets’ decision to deal Jusuf Nurkic

Heading into the 2015-16 NBA season, Jokic’s rookie year, Nurkic was coming off of an NBA All-Rookie team selection. However, he wasn’t able to stay on the floor, appearing in just 32 games that season.

Unfortunately, Jokic thrived in his absence, posting 16.7 points, 9.8 rebounds, and 4.9 assists per game while shooting 57.8% from the field and 32.4% from long range.

That was enough to push the Nuggets to offload Nurkic in a deal that netted them Mason Plumlee, cash considerations, and a 2018 second-round pick that turned into Shake Milton.

Denver didn’t exactly get a haul for their former All-Rookie big man, but they created an even bigger pond for Jokic to swim in, eventually leading him to win two NBA MVP awards.

There’s no doubt that the Nuggets kept the right guy.

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