Shams Charania of The Vertical reports that Portland Trail Blazers center Jusuf Nurkic anticipates facing restricted free agency in 2018, with no extension offered from Portland.
Sources: Portland's Jusuf Nurkic plans on restricted free agency next summer with Blazers, barring major shift, with no extension offer made.— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) October 13, 2017
Nurkic is in the final season of his rookie contract. If he and the Trail Blazers do not agree to an extension, the Trail Blazers have the opportunity to tender a $4.1-million qualifying offer, which Nurkic can accept (unlikely) and play one more year in Portland, becoming an unrestricted free agent in 2019, or reject, immediately becoming a restricted free agent. If Nurkic becomes a restricted free agent, other teams can make contract offers but the Trail Blazers have right of first refusal.
Not offering an extension makes sense for the Trail Blazers. If Nurkic proves that his 2016-17 campaign was no fluke and he’s worth max money, the Trail Blazers can match any offer. If, however, Nurkic succumbs to injury or is not the star he looked like in March, then the Trail Blazers can hope to retain his services at a discount, with fewer teams looking to up the ante.
Although many are convinced that Nurkic is Portland’s answer at center, it’s difficult to begrudge them wanting to see more than 20 games of action before committing a large sum of money.
Not sure why this is happening? Still have some questions? Check out Eric Griffith’s summer breakdown of the situation, here.