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Jusuf Nurkic returns to Portland on a four-year deal

Jusuf Nurkic is bound to return to Portland on a four-year deal worth $70M, ESPN reports. Nurkic was expected to return to the Blazers as the starting center despite a disastrous 2-2021-22 season for the franchise.

The Blazers finished with 27 wins, but the veteran center had once again an injury-filled season. He appeared in only 101 games over the last three seasons. The 27-year-old big man however did take the floor on 56 occasions in 2021-22.

The Blazers shut him down in the final part of the season as the team decided to retool the roster on 2022 offseason. The Blazers acquired the No.7 pick in the 2022 draft and trade for Pistons’ forward Jerami Grant a few weeks ago.

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While Nurkic is not an elite defender like Grant, who is expected to be his front court partner, he brings an adequate skillset on that end of the floor. He averaged 15.0 points and 11.1 rebounds per game in his final season of his previous contract.

The 7-footer has averaged 12.2 points and 8.5 rebounds in 411 career games (330 starts) with the Denver Nuggets and Trail Blazers. Also on Thursday, the Blazers agreed to a deal with free-agent guard Gary Payton II.

Portland also re-signed restricted free agent Anfernee Simons, while back-up center Drew Eubanks also rejoined the team after becoming the starting center in the last part of the season while Nurkic was out.

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