2. Jusuf Nurkic, Portland Trail Blazers
Would we have liked Nurkic as a center for the Raptors before the selection of Christian Koloko? Of course! He’s very talented! However, when you look at the deal Portland just forked over to someone with serious injury concerns, it’s clear why Toronto was never in the mix for him.
Nurkic agreed to a four-year deal worth around $70 million. While he is a double-double machine when healthy and a worthy starting center for Damian Lillard, the fact that they gave Nurkic a long-term contract despite the risks attached to an oft-injured big man his size is a bit puzzling.
The Toronto Raptors paid Otto Porter Jr. rather than Jusuf Nurkic.
The Raptors knew that Porter was an injury risk when they signed him, which is why they gave him a two-year deal that could be opted out of before the second-year starts. That’s how to handle an aging player with a laundry list of concerning injuries.
The Blazers need to show Damian Lillard that they are serious about contending without CJ McCollum. While locking up Anfernee Simons and bringing in Gary Payton Jr. were solid moves, the Nurkic deal is going to be an albatross if a nearly 300-pound center struggles with mobility.