Barring a dramatic change in talks, Portland Trail Blazers center Jusuf Nurkic plans on entering restricted free agency next summer as no contract extension offer has been made, league sources told The Vertical.
Nurkic, 23, has become a cornerstone piece for the Trail Blazers alongside guards Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum. He would be one of the top centers on the free-agent market in 2018 — a 7-footer able to effectively score, rebound and defend.
Members of the 2014 NBA draft have until Monday night to reach an extension agreement.
Portland acquired Nurkic in a trade with the Denver Nuggets in February, a move that allowed him to flourish and give the Blazers a reliable inside presence. Nurkic made a strong impression on the coaching and front-office staffs in closing the season with the Blazers, averaging 15.2 points, 10.4 rebounds and 1.9 blocks in 20 games and helping lift the team to a playoff spot.
Portland went 14-6 with Nurkic in the lineup, helping the team reach its fourth consecutive playoff berth.
Nurkic fully recovered from a right leg injury that sidelined him in the postseason and has had a strong preseason.
Nurkic was the No. 16 overall pick in the 2014 NBA draft to Chicago, which traded him and guard Gary Harris to the Nuggets.
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