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Report: Jusuf Nurkic “is sure” to be traded prior to the deadline

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Marc Stein at ESPN underlines the trade rumors with some stronger wording on Nurkic moving on

NBA: Sacramento Kings at Denver Nuggets Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

In something less than a shocker, Marc Stein of ESPN has reiterated his previous statements that Denver is attempting to trade its backup center, Jusuf Nurkic:

The Denver Nuggets are working to find a new home for center Jusuf Nurkic in advance of next month's NBA trade deadline, according to league sources.

Sources told ESPN that the Nuggets -- having acknowledged that it's difficult to accommodate both Nurkic and Nikola Jokic in the same frontcourt -- have made Nurkic available and are searching out deals that would give him the Bosnian big man an opportunity to go elsewhere and start anew.

In a separate weekly article, he phrases it this way:

A player who is sure to move between now and the trade deadline?

Denver's Jusuf Nurkic.

Sources say that the Nuggets, having acknowledged that Nikola Jokic and Nurkic didn't click as a pairing, are actively working to find Nurkic a new home that would give him the chance he deserves to be a front-line center.

Both quotes have the same spin on the trade: the Nuggets are looking to move Jusuf Nurkic in the next 4 weeks, and that they are working to put him in an advantageous situation for himself as well as helping Denver restructure its roster.

This follows other trades where Denver has attempted to move a player into a situation that will be beneficial for them. GM Tim Connelly has specifically pointed that out regarding the Randy Foye trade that brought D.J. Augustin and picks back to Denver, and it seems to be a consideration of the front office with most deals. The Nuggets would like a win/win deal for its traded players if possible.

It’s not always possible, though, and that may be one reason Denver hasn’t moved some of its players like Danilo Gallinari. Last year Denver had an offer for Gallo they would have accepted, but after he told them he would like to stay they turned it down instead. Denver has a lot of loyalty to the players that have shown loyalty to the city and team; it’s too soon to tell whether that loyalty will wind up being detrimental.

This current situation may be a little different, as Nurkic has been very demonstrative about his frustration with coming off the bench in spot minutes (or not at all) and backing up Nikola Jokic, Denver’s budding star. Nurkic is a talented big man, but the Nuggets haven’t found the right way to deploy him off the bench and he seems very opposed to the idea of being a backup, (rightly) believing he may be too talented for that. It was always unlikely that Denver would go into the summer with that same situation causing friction, and Stein seems pretty positive that Denver is on a month-long search for the right place and the right deal for Nurkic.

Hopefully that right fit materializes soon, for the sake of both sides.