NBA Trade News: Denver Nuggets "openly shopping" Jusuf Nurkic

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 (14-23) are actively shopping Bosnian centre Jusuf Nurkic, who is currently coming off the bench behind Serbian big man Nikola Jokic, per fresh reports.

Coach Michael Malone began the season with Nurkic in the starting unit with hopes of pairing Jokic alongside him at the 4 spot. But as the season progressed, the Nuggets began leaning towards Jokic as the team's starting centre with stretch-4 forward Darrell Arthur and points leader Danilo Gallinari playing a critical role in the offense.

According to ESPN's Mark Stein, the Nuggets are "openly shopping" Nurkic, besides Gallinari, Kenneth Faried and Wilson Chandler, the trio that has been in Denver since the 2011-12 season. Essentially, the Nuggets would be hitting the reset button and building around the trio of Jokic, Jamal Murray and Emmanuel Mudiay. 

Denver Nuggets Trade: Gallinari, Faried and Chandler also available

The report added that the Nuggets front office was aggressively pursuing Atlanta Hawks forward Paul Millsap prior to last year's trade deadline and could do so again ahead of this year's deadline. "Denver engaged in serious talks to acquire Millsap last summer and is known to be interested again, alongside Toronto and Sacramento. (The Nuggets, for the record, are now openly shopping third-year big man Jusuf Nurkic in addition to the widely-assumed availability of vets Danilo Gallinari, Kenneth Faried and Wilson Chandler)."

Nurkic, according to many analysts, has the potential to become an all-star calibre starting centre in the league in the coming years. However, the Bosnian has had to agree to a lesser role with the Nuggets, something that has apparently left the 22-year-old a tad frustrated, per the Denver Post.

"For sure, it’s tough (to sacrifice playing time). I’m 22 years old. I’m not here to sit on the bench. I’m here to play basketball. And it’s a tough decision for me, from a starting spot and 20 minutes to four straight (games of not playing)... you control what you control, and I let my agent do the rest of the stuff."

"I’m going to do what I can do; come here, work every day hard and be professional like I should be," Nurkic said," added Nurkic, who was drafted No. 16 overall by Denver in 2014. 

According to ESPN's Zach Lowe, the Nuggets nearly traded a package involving Faried and Nurkic to Atlanta in exchange for Millsap last February. Since Millsap is a free agent this summer, there's a strong likelihood of Atlanta trading him ahead of the deadline. 

Jusuf Nurkic is averaging 9.3 points, 6.3 rebounds and 0.9 blocks from 19.9 minutes per game.