One of the first big trades to start off what is expected to be an active NBA trade deadline was between the Denver Nuggets and the Portland Trailblazers. These are two teams that find themselves in a tight race for the 8th playoff spot in the West. Portland has failed to meet their high season expectations while Denver is a young, quick pace team that is looking to show they are a playoff caliber team.
The Nuggets traded (C) Jusuf Nurkic and a 2017 1st round pick to the Portland Trailblazers in exchange for (F/C) Mason Plumlee and a 2018 2nd round pick.
On Portland’s end, they took a young big man still on his rookie contract with lots of potential. Before Nikola Jokic started blossoming into a superstar, Nurkic was the building block of the future for the Nuggets. He has shown the capability of being a starting caliber center that can be a low post scoring threat, which is something that the Trailblazers need. Being a heavily guard-dominated team, they need someone they can throw to on the low block and watch them go to work for tough buckets. The best part of this trade for Portland was the acquisition of the 2017 1st round pick. They now have three in this summer’s draft that they could potentially look to package in a trade for another big man if this trade doesn’t work out, or move up to the top of the draft to grab an elite young talent.
On the opposite side, Denver finds themselves currently in the last playoff spot in the West and were looking for someone to pair alongside Nikola Jokic, while also looking to unload Nurkic since he’d fallen out of the rotation most nights due to Jokic being so dominant. They acquired a high-energy, skilled big man in Mason Plumlee who is a team player and is willing to take on any role that his team needs. He should be a nice compliment alongside Jokic.
Plumlee will get most of his shots off putbacks and will give his all on both ends of the floor. The Nuggets are finally starting to get healthy and are one of the best offensive teams in the league, ranking fourth in points and assists. Plumlee should easily fit in with the Nuggets and should solidify them as the best rebounding team in the league, (currently first.)
Both teams benefit greatly from this swap even with it is an inner division trade, and it should help both sides in the short and long term.