The Portland Trail Blazers and Denver Nuggets don’t feel like waiting until the NBA’s Feb. 23 trade deadline.
The two teams completed a trade Sunday that involved the Blazers sending center Mason Plumlee and a 2018 second-round pick to Denver in exchange for Nuggets center Jusuf Nurkic and the Memphis Grizzzlies’ 2017 first-round pick, league sources told The Vertical’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
It’s the first significant deal of the NBA’s unofficial “trade season” and could have benefits for both clubs.
Plumlee was enjoying a career season in Portland, averaging 11.1 points and 8.0 rebounds per game as of Sunday. But the 26-year-old would have been owed a roughly $3.3 million contract extension next season, and dealing him could help the Blazers stay under the luxury tax.
Portland also adds frontcourt size in the 7-foot, 280-pound Nurkic. The 22-year-old was averaging just eight points and 5.8 rebounds in Denver this season, but he could benefit from a change of scenery and not fighting for touches with fellow big man Nikola Jurkic. The Blazers get a nice bonus in Memphis’ pick, as well — they now have three first-round selections in a loaded 2017 NBA Draft.
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