Jusuf Nurkic has found new life as a member of the Portland Trailblazers.
Nurkic had a very impressive rookie season for the Denver Nuggets in 2014-15 before dealing with injuries in his sophomore season and struggling to re-establish a role before being traded during the 2016-17 season.
Since joining the Blazers last season, Nurkic has almost doubled his career averages across the board and is averaging 14.8 points and 8.9 rebounds for the Blazers, including 14.3 points and 7.2 rebounds in 17 games this season.
His increased role and opportunity and status as the clear starting center in Portland has made Nurkic very content as a player and he wants to re-up with the Blazers this summer, as told by his agent to Ben Golliver of Sports Illustrated:
“I feel like the Blazers are very happy with Jusuf and Jusuf is very happy there,” Tesch, the agent, told The Crossover by telephone this week. “We had some [extension] talks but we decided to play it out this year and engage in talks again in July. He has already proven that he can help the team. There is a fit for Jusuf in Portland and he’s looking to stay there long-term.”
While the Blazers are playing mediocre basketball at the moment, they clearly are much better defensively and tougher and Nurkic’s presence has a lot to do with that. He has also added a post scoring aspect that the Blazers were sorely missing as a team that was almost entirely reliant on the jump shot for their offense in recent seasons past.
A lot can change over the next 60 games or so, but at this point it seems pretty likely that the Blazers and Nurkic will come to terms this summer.
This feels like a four-year, $50 to $60 million deal waiting to happen.