Certain teams face difficult decisions over the coming weeks: whether or not to sign prospective restricted free agents to long-term extensions before the league-imposed deadline at the start of the 2017-18 regular season. If these franchises choose to pass, they will be forced to haggle with players’ agents next offseason; feelings could get hurt, offers sheets could be signed and overall, the circumstances get a bit stickier. We explore these situations in depth.
Today: Jusuf Nurkic
Why would Portland extend Nurkic?
After struggling to find a niche for the Nuggets, Jusuf Nurkic blew up after getting traded to the Blazers.
His post-up abilities, along with his passing out of the high post, gelled wonderfully with Portland.
Over a 20-game stretch with the Blazers, Nurkic averaged 15.2 points, 10.4 rebounds and 3.2 assists per contest. He also blocked 1.9 shots per game, and averaged 1.3 steals.
Portland had a 14-6 record when Nurkic played. And the team was 11.1 points per 100 possessions better when he was on the floor.
The multi-talented big man found a home in Portland, and the marriage makes both parties better.
Why would Portland pass on extending Nurkic?
A long-term extension for Nurkic comes with some risk.
The Blazers would be gambling on a 20-game sample size. Is that enough for a major commitment?
Nurkic has historically lashed out when things don’t go his way. Previously, he has had trouble keeping his weight in check.
Are both of those issues things of the past?
What deal makes sense for both parties?
Portland’s future cap room is already very tied up. They can’t afford to be risky with Nurkic’s contract by offering him a max extension based on such a small sample size.
But Nurkic has said Portland is where he wants to be.
Because he may be willing to accept something less than the max, we recommend a four-year, $48 million deal.