Following the Trail Blazers fifth First Round exit in their last eight straight playoff appearances, Portland’s starting center Jusuf Nurkic showed his frustrations while discussing the uncertainty surrounding his future and the franchise.
The Blazers collapsed late in the second half of Game 6 as the Nuggets went on and defeated the Blazers 126-115 and ended their season.
Nurkic felt the Nuggets outplayed them in Game 6 and Denver deserved to win the series.
But Nurkic also discussed all the uncertainty surrounding him and the team.
The Blazers starting center doesn’t know if he’ll be returning to Portland.
He added that he was heated after not advancing in the playoffs this season.
Nurkic continued, “I’m not sure if I'm coming back or what the direction is. We’ll look at that later.”
Four million of his $12M contract is guaranteed now.
It will become fully guaranteed on August 3rd.
And it was his uncertain nature of not knowing if he would be back in a Trail Blazers uniform that stood out in his postgame interview.
“I don’t want to point the finger,” Nurkic said. “There’s people that are going to look at that and answer those questions about me.”
But it was apparent, he is feeling changes are on the horizon.
Nurkic also mentioned that he didn't get the feeling in the locker room from his teammates that there was an overall belief that changes are about to happen.
He added that having a First Round exit is not what was expected of this team after the offseason they had.
This season, Nurkic missed 35 games with a broken wrist and calf strain. He averaged 11.5 points and 9.0 rebounds in 37 regular season games.
The 26-year-old explained that he wished he would have a bigger role.
“This is my seventh year in the league and try to be bigger for the team.”
“Like I said at the beginning of the year, I wish my role was bigger and I think I could help even more,” Nurkic explained. “Like I said, I was very respectful and tried to do what they asked of me, the coach and what they have for me. It’s hard when you have one of the best players ever to play this game. Sometimes it just feels not enough. I think we’re a better team than we showing.”
After discussing how his teammates this season were some of the best teammates he has ever been around, he explained why it was so disappointing to lose again in the First Round.
“It wasn’t enough.”
And that’s why Nurk believes changes are coming.
“A lot of things it looks like and feels like is going to be changed. That’s on people above to do it.”
But when asked if he wants to be back on the team next season?
The seven-year veteran had a simple answer.
“In the right situation, yes” Nurkic said.
And what does that look like?
“We’ll see. I don’t know because this is not it.”