The Portland Trail Blazers have agreed to trade Mason Plumlee and a 2018 second round draft pick to the Denver Nuggets in exchange for Jusuf Nurkic and a 2017 first round draft pick, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical.
Denver is trading center Jusuf Nurkic to Portland, league sources tell the @TheVertical.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojVerticalNBA) February 12, 2017
Portland sends Mason Plumlee a 2018 second round pick for Nurkic and a 2017 first-rounder (via Memphis), league sources tell @TheVertical— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojVerticalNBA) February 12, 2017
Nurkic, the 16th overall pick of the 2014 NBA Draft, had fallen behind second-year sensation Nikola Jokic, and will almost certainly better utilized in Portland as a starting center. At 7-feet tall and 22 years old, Nurkic is a talented defender with a high ceiling in the years to come. Nurkic is averaging 8.0 points and 5.8 rebounds in 17.9 minutes per game.
The Trail Blazers now possess three first round picks in the 2017 NBA Draft - their own, Cleveland’s pick, and now Memphis’ pick. The first-rounder acquired from Memphis is protected 1-5 in 2017 and 2018, and unprotected in 2019.
The Trail Blazers will likely avoid what would have been an even larger luxury tax hit in 2017-18 had they re-signed Plumlee as a restricted free agent this summer.
The Blazers and Nuggets are also currently embroiled in a fight for the no. 8 playoff seed in the Western Conference. Denver holds a one game lead over Portland at the moment.
Keith Smith of RealGM reports that this trade does not take the Trail Blazers out of the running for Philadelphia 76ers center Jahlil Okafor. In fact, it may help their cause if the price is right: