Josh Hart, Jusuf Nurkic Among Blazers On Trade Block

Portland Trail Blazers, Josh Hart, Jusuf Nurkic, NBA Trade Rumors
NBA Analysis Network

The Portland Trail Blazers are one team that could be quite active ahead of the 2023 NBA trade deadline. They began the process of rebuilding the roster around Damian Lillard ahead of last year’s deadline and there is still plenty of work to do.

Right now, the only players that are likely considered safe from being moved are Lillard, Jerami Grant, Anfernee Simons, and rookie Shaedon Sharpe. Lillard is the heart and soul of the team, while the Trail Blazers are actively trying to work out an extension with Grant. Simons and Sharpe are their two young building blocks for the future.

Beyond that, there is a lot of uncertainty surrounding the roster. Portland is 24-26 on the season, so they should be exploring avenues to upgrade the roster not only for this season but with an eye toward the future.

Open to making some deals, two players to keep an eye on are Josh Hart and Jusuf Nurkic. According to Jake Fischer of Yahoo! Sports, both players are popping up in discussions more than others with Hart being the most talked about.

“The rest of the Blazers’ roster seems far more unsettled ahead of the Feb. 9 trade deadline. Portland has given rival teams the impression the Blazers are open to discussing the majority of their players, particularly Josh Hart and Jusuf Nurkic, sources said, as the franchise remains committed to building a playoff contender around Lillard. Portland has engaged teams with an eye towards size with athleticism, plus wing-shooting defenders, sources said. Hart has become one of the buzzier names among league executives this week, as he’s expected to decline a $12.9 million player option for the 2023-2024 season.”

NBA NEWS & TRADE RUMORS: Portland Trail Blazers, Josh Hart, & Jusuf Nurkic Updates

Hart has put himself in a position for a significant raise during the summer in free agency. He is an excellent glue guy, willing to do the little thing to help a team win games. His ability to defend virtually any position defensively is a huge bonus and he is an elite rebounder for a wing player. A solid playmaker, Hart can play multiple roles, making him a valuable player beyond his stat line.

Portland should be able to get something of real value in exchange for him, but moving Nurkic could be a little more difficult. He is in the first season of a four-year, $70 million deal he signed in free agency last summer.

Nurkic has done a good job developing and adapting his game to the times, as he is getting more and more comfortable on the perimeter every season. This season, he is making 39.4 percent of his 3-point attempts and making nearly one per game.

NBA NEWS & TRADE RUMORS: Portland Trail Blazers, Josh Hart, & Jusuf Nurkic Updates

With his strong rebounding ability and efficient offensive game, Nurkic would be seen as an upgrade for plenty of teams. With Myles Turner agreeing to an extension with the Indiana Pacers, Nurkic could be the best big man available on the market ahead of the deadline.