Denver Nuggets could trade Jusuf Nurkic before deadline

By @saihoops on
Jusuf Nurkic
Dec 7, 2016; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Brooklyn Nets centre Brook Lopez (11) drives against Denver Nuggets centre Jusuf Nurkic (23) during the second quarter at Barclays Center. USA TODAY Sports / Anthony Gruppuso

The Denver Nuggets (9-16) could make Bosnian centre Jusuf Nurkic available via trade ahead of February's deadline, per several reports.

Nurkic has started all 25 games for the Nuggets this season, but the 7-footer has grabbed double-digit rebounds only once in the month of December and is shooting a paltry 41.7 percent from the foul line. Due to Nurkic's dip in production, Nuggets coach Michael Malone is considering the possibility of inserting Serbian big man Nikola Jokic into the starting unit, according to BSNDenver.com.

READ: Minnesota Timberwolves trying to trade for reserve big men

At the start of the season, Nurkic and Jokic started alongside each other but the combination of two seven-footers in the frontcourt didn't help the team's offense -- which forced coach Malone to start Darrell Arthur at the 4 spot, besides giving additional minutes to Kenneth Faried. According to NBA.com/stats, centres Nurkic and Jokic have played only 103 minutes together this season with neither big seeing too much time at the 4 spot.

Denver Nuggets prefer Nikola Jokic to Jusuf Nurkic?

Since Jokic is reportedly the team's preferred choice at centre, Nurkic could be used as a trade chip to acquire either a wing scorer or a versatile power forward, per several reports. According to CBS Sports, Nurkic headlines the class of big men who are currently available via trade, besides Milwaukee Bucks' Greg Monroe, Orlando Magic's Nikola Vucevic and Sacramento Kings' Willie Cauley-Stein.

The report added that the Timberwolves, who are actively seeking big men to backup Karl-Anthony Towns, could call Denver regarding Nurkic closer to the deadline. In recent years, both Nuggets and Timberwolves have been extremely active during trade season and are expected to shop around players once again. 

Jusuf Nurkic is averaging 9.8 points, 7.3 rebounds and 1.0 blocks from 21.2 minutes per game. Nikola Jokic is averaging 11.0 points, 7.3 rebounds and 0.7 blocks per game.