Portland Trail Blazers big man Jusuf Nurkic is out for 8 weeks with a broken wrist. Which five trades could the Blazers make to cover his absence?
In what is a massive blow for the Portland Trail Blazers, starting big man Jusuf Nurkic has been ruled out of NBA competition for eight weeks with a fractured wrist. Nurkic hurt his wrist against the Indiana Pacers, and then underwent surgery to correct the fracture.
The loss of Nurk is a big one, as he is, in many ways, the Blazers’ defensive identity. The center is still the most important defensive player on a team, so missing Nurkic is massive for the Blazers.
With Zach Collins also injured, the Blazers now have just two traditional bigs on the roster. Because starting power forward Robert Covington is more of a forward than a big, and Carmelo Anthony is similar, the power forward position is pretty light on options as well.
There’s a couple of options to replace Nurkic, either through trade, or with free agents. We detailed some in this piece last week.
The Blazers have a shortage of big men, and they may need to take steps both in the long and short term to shore up their big rotation.
Which 5 trades could the Portland Trail Blazers make to cover Jusuf Nurkic’s absence?
Trade #1 – Rodney Hood for Mo Bamba and Michael Carter-Williams
If Blazer fans think that their team has had significant injuries, they need to cast their eye over the Orlando Magic roster.
They have Jonathan Isaac and Markelle Fultz both out for the season, while five other players will miss several weeks or multiple games with injuries.
Not only are the Magic very unlikely to contend for the playoffs this year, but their team is also getting very expensive as the extensions for Issac and Fultz kick in next year.
In 2018 lottery pick Mohamed Bamba, the Magic have a big that when he was drafted, was meant to be the centerpiece at the heart of their defense. But the development of Khem Birch as a backup big, and Nikola Vucevic as an All-Star and key starter.
Bamba has some of the most-impressive measurements in NBA draft combine history, with a whopping seven-foot-nine wingspan to go with his big seven-foot-body.
Bamba has struggled for health and consistency in the first two years of his career, but he is one of the best shot blockers per minute in the NBA when he does play. Bamba has also worked on his game’s stretch element and has a career 34 percent on an average of 1.6 attempts a game.
Bamba is just 22, so if the Blazers wanted another big to bridge the injury gap this year, then he could be an option for this year and next.
By moving the struggling Rodney Hood to the Magic, the Magic could clear Bamba’s salary for next year and get off Michael-Carter Williams as well, who has shot just 34 percent from the floor this season.
Carter-Williams could provide guard defense for the Blazers, or just be cut if he cannot play this season.
If Hood could find some form, he could be of value to the Magic or another team in a trade. Otherwise, the Magic could waive him next year.