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Report: Trail Blazers re-signing Jusuf Nurkic (four years, $70M)

Trail Blazers center Jusuf Nurkic

PORTLAND, OREGON - JANUARY 25: Jusuf Nurkic #27 of the Portland Trail Blazers reacts during the first half against the Minnesota Timberwolves at Moda Center on January 25, 2022 in Portland, Oregon. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

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The Trail Blazers dealt most of their starting lineup – C.J. McCollum, Norman Powell and Robert Covington – at the last trade deadline.

Portland kept Damian Lillard and is continuing to build around him. Relatedly, the Trail Blazers will re-sign the other starter they kept: center Jusuf Nurkic.

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:

Nurkic is a solid starting center. He protects the paint, set screens, rebounds, can pass some and has improved as a finisher.

The Trail Blazers have given Nurkic more defensive responsibility than he can handle in recent years. That likely won’t change with Lillard and Anfernee Simons taking prominent backcourt roles and a hole at small forward that will necessitate plenty of small, three-guard lineups (though Josh Hart is a better defender than previous guards). Jerami Grant should help – but only so much.

Still, the alternative would be far worse without Nurkic. By using its trade exception on Grant and guaranteeing Hart’s salary, Portland committed to operating as an over-the-cap team. At that point, using Nurkic’s Bird Rights to keep him made total sense.

The Trail Blazers are also re-signing Drew Eubanks, who produced well as fill-in starting center with Nurkic sidelined down the stretch of a lost season.

Wojnarowski of ESPN:

Eubanks has shown flashes with the Trail Blazers and Spurs. The 25-year-old might be ready to be Nurkic’s primary backup next season.