Overpaid: Jusuf Nurkic
Nurkic was a difference-maker for the Blazers when he arrived in 2017, but he has not been the same since breaking his leg in 2019. The 6’11 big man missed Portland’s run to the conference finals and has struggled to stay healthy since. He averaged 38.2 games per season over the last four and has not played more than 56 times.
Nurkic is entering the second season of a four-year deal that is set to pay him $70 million in total. He makes $16.8 million this year, and the 28-year-old’s salary increases each season until he becomes an unrestricted free agent in 2026.
The Portland Trail Blazers are hoping to offload Nurkic’s contract in a trade, and their best bet is to tie him to Damian Lillard. The problem is that leaves $62.5 million in salary for a team to match. That is a hefty sum and one that will be tough to equal without Portland taking back some negative deals from other teams.
The Blazers cannot count on Jusuf Nurkic to stay healthy, and his defense has declined for four straight years. Portland is looking to move on, but the big man’s contract is an undesirable asset that could keep him in Rip City until 2026.