Think of Portland and the two players that first come to mind are Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum. Rightfully. The Blazers didn’t really click as a team until Jusuf Nurkick joined them to provide some steady play inside. Last season he averaged 14.3 points and 9 rebounds a game with a very efficient 19.2 PER. More importantly, the defense was 4.3 points per 100 possessions better when he was on the court.
Which meant the Blazers were going to keep the restricted free agent this summer. The only question was cost.
The answer is about $12 million a year. Nurkic and Portland have reached terms on a deal, a story broken by Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.
Restricted free agent center Jusuf Nurkic has agreed to a four-year, $48 million deal to stay with the Portland Trail Blazers, a league source told ESPN.
Nurkic, 23, turned down a more lucrative four-year deal several months ago, but the marketplace has tightened and he chose to take this deal on Friday, sources said. The deal includes a partial guarantee in the fourth year.
That has played well in the locker room.
Nurkic would be far from the only player to misread how tight this market was and think there was more money for him out there than there really was.
This move keeps the core of a good Portland team together for a few more seasons. Now the challenge for GM Neil Olshey is now to build on that to move up the ladder in the deep and improving West.