I caught wind of another trade over the weekend. Again it is not a blockbuster trade but since we have nothing more to go on, I will delve into it and pick a winner.
The Trail Blazer sent Mason Plumlee plus a Second Round pick to the Nuggets for Jusuf Nurkic and a First Round pick. On the face of it, I didn’t get why the Trail Blazers made this move but when I looked a little more closely, I got it.
Clearly Mason Plumlee is the better player in the trade, no question. I was impressed with him when he was on the Nets and his game stepped up a notch when he was traded to Portland. He is athletic enough and rolls to the basket very well. I remember him putting a few players on a poster. He is also a good passer and has been in the league for one more year than Nurkic. That is significant because he becomes a restricted free agent at the end of the season and Portland did not want to have to break the bank to keep him because they have a huge payroll. How does Portland have such a payroll and are 9th in the west? I remember when they had cap flexibility. Last summer, they were literally giving money away. McCollum got paid, so did Allen Crabbe. Even Evan Turner was shocked when they offered him $70 Million last summer. I remember thinking it wasn’t a smart way to spend all their money. Here we are and they are forced to shed some salary to stay competitive.
Why did the Nuggets trade Nurkic? Well, they apparently favoured Jokic over him which is ironic because they expected more from Nurkic when they both drafted them Jokic has a more polished offensive game and even scored 40 points over the weekend. Nurkic was more of a plodder and slowed the game down a little. He was decent defensively but got in the way offensively and the numbers with he and Jokic on the floor was not good enough. What I don’t understand is why in the world they included a first round pick? For my money, even if Denver hold the 8th Seed, I don’t see them making the playoffs. I don’t watch them much but on paper, I think Lillard and McCollum will finish the season stronger. This means that pick falls in the lottery. That’s basically giving up 2 mid level fist round picks (including Nurkic) for the 22nd pick in the 2013 draft. The 2017 draft is supposedly deep so I think Denver might rue including that first round pick.
For what it’s worth, I think the Trail Blazers got the better deal.
Other Trade Rumours
I hear the Blazers are also trying to move Ezeli before the deadline to get his $7m off their books. He is only guaranteed $1m next season so I don’t think it will be difficult to get his contract off their books.
I’m also hearing Orlando is trying to move Ibaka. I had high hopes when they made the trade but things haven’t really popped off the way the Magic thought. This coupled with the fact that Ibaka is a free agent in the summer and he probably won’t stay in Orlando means it makes sense to see what they can get for him especially if they get a young player in return. Now the question is who takes a chance on Ibaka knowing he might bolt in free agency? Answer is a contender who will have a good chance of keeping him beyond the summer or worst case, he helps them advance in the playoffs. Enter Toronto. He can sort out their Power Forward issues but who do they give up? Do they trade Demarre Carroll? I think they can put together a package of fringe players like Sullinger, Bebe and someone else. I’d like both Carroll and Ibaka on the roster if they do make the move.
That’s it for now. No doubt there will be more posts breaking down trades in the future.