The Portland Trail Blazers and Denver Nuggets agreed to a trade that will send center Mason Plumlee and a 2018 second-round pick to Denver in-exchange for center Jusuf Nurkic and a 2017 first-round draft pick, per Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical.
Portland’s new first-round pick will come from the Memphis Grizzlies, giving the Trail Blazers three draft picks in the 2017 NBA Draft, which is projected to be one of the best draft classes in years. The Trail Blazers also own the Cavaliers first round pick, in-addition to their own.
The trade call with the NBA to make the trade official is scheduled for Monday, according to Marc Stein of ESPN. Teammates of both Plumlee and Nurkic have said their goodbyes via social media, and Nurkic confirmed the trade on his official Instagram account:
Nurkic, 22, is averaging 8.0 points per game, 5.8 rebounds, and 1.3 assists per game. While he began the year as the starting center for the Nuggets, the emergence of Nikola Jokic lead Nurkic to start receiving inconsistent playing time, leaving Nurkic displeased with his reduced role.
In Portland, Nurkic will likely be throttled into the starting lineup right away for the Trail Blazers with center Festus Ezeli still not ready to play yet due to a knee injury. Portland is also trying to move Eziel via trade, according to league sources.
As previously stated above, the Nuggets have Jokic, who in his second year in the league has built on what was a solid rookie campaign for the 41st overall pick. The 21-year-old Jokic is averaging 16.3 points, 8.6 rebounds, and 4.2 assists per game this season as one of the best passing centers in the league. Only Al Horford averages more assists as a center with Horford dishing out just over 5 a game in his first year with the Boston Celitcs.
Jokic means that Plumlee will now be the main backup center for the Nuggets. This is the 3rd time that Plumlee has been traded in his NBA career, as the Brooklyn Nets traded him to Portland as part of a draft night traded that netted Brooklyn Rondae Hollis-Jefferson.
The 26-year-old Plumlee is averaging 11.1 points, 8.0 rebounds, 4.0 assists, and 1.2 blocks per game this season.
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