Portland Trail Blazers

Restricted free agency looms for Portland Trail Blazers and Jusuf Nurkic

Portland Trail Blazers and Jusuf Nurkic are unlikely to agree on extension, paving the way for Nurkic to become a restricted free agent.

Jusuf Nurkic helped transform the Portland Trail Blazers upon his arrival last season, but the Blazers appear to be in no rush to lock him up.

According to The Vertical’s Shams Charania, Nurkic will likely be headed to restricted free agency following the 2017-18 season.

The deadline to sign players currently on a rookie contract is Oct. 16, giving the two sides just three more days before they can resume negotiations next July.

Nurkic was an integral part of Portland’s late season playoff push last year. Acquired from Denver in exchange for Mason Plumlee, Nurkic averaged 15.2 points, 10.4 rebounds, and 3.2 assists in 20 games with Portland. He became a bruising low-post force that helped take the pressure off the dynamic wing duo of Damian Lillard and C.J. McCullom.

A late season injury to his right leg caused him to miss the final seven games of the season and three of Portland’s four playoff games in the first round against the Golden State Warriors.

The Blazers already have $112 million committed to the roster in 2018-19. Nurkic could be in line to make around $18 million per year if he posts similar numbers for Portland this season.

As a restricted free agent, the Blazers will be able to match any offer that the center may receive during the free agent period next offseason.

Nurkic was the No. 16 overall pick in the 2014 draft by the Chicago Bulls, but flipped to the Denver Nuggets on draft night. He’s due to make $2.9 million this season as the last year on his rookie level contract.

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