The NBA offseason has arrived, and the Portland Trail Blazers, along with almost every other team, are facing important questions as they prepare for the NBA Draft and NBA Free Agency. On Wednesday, Paolo Uggetti of The Ringer published a list of suggestions for every Western Conference team.
Uggetti starts by advocating that Portland not split up Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum: “I understand the thought process, but why get rid of one of two known quantities unless you can get another bona fide star?”
He then recommends that the Blazers let Jusuf Nurkic walk:
At the same time, place me in the camp of being fully on board with moving on from Jusuf Nurkic, who has been good in spurts but will command a lot of money in restricted free agency and lock Portland into this roster for the foreseeable future. The team has already seen the downside of overpaying to keep an asset with Meyers Leonard, Mo Harkless, and Allen Crabbe, and a Nurkic deal might be even worse since it blocks the path of Zach Collins. The postseason was rough for Portland, but what it accomplished this regular season speaks highly of its ceiling with Lillard and McCollum. Now, the Blazers just have to get creative in order to take it to the next level.
Nurkic is set to become a restricted free agent which means Portland will have the option to match any offers he accepts. It is not clear what the market for him will be. He averaged 14.3 points and 9.0 rebounds in 26.4 minutes per game for the Blazers last season. He’ll be 24 years old at the start of the 2018-19 season.
Uggetti’s “friendly suggestion” for Portland: “Free [Zach] Collins, keep Ed Davis, and let Nurkic walk.” He also suggests the Dallas Mavericks try to sign Ed Davis.
You can see the full list of his suggestions for other Western Conference teams here.