Could the Knicks pursue Jusuf Nurkic?

Jusuf Nurkic, knicks
Mar 22, 2023; Salt Lake City, Utah, USA; Portland Trail Blazers center Jusuf Nurkic (27) posts up on Utah Jazz center Udoka Azubuike (20) in the fourth quarter at Vivint Arena. Mandatory Credit: Rob Gray-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Knicks are poised to address their scoring shortcomings in the upcoming offseason, and one Portland Trail Blazers Center presents a potential solution.

Adrian Bernecich, a contributor at Blazers Edge, suggests that veteran big man Jusuf Nurkic could be a target for the Knicks, especially if current starting center Mitchell Robinson continues to express dissatisfaction with his role and seeks an exit.

“The Knicks appear keen to capitalize on this season’s playoff berth,” Bernecich wrote. “They might want to bring in another established center if Robinson forces his way out.”

What would the Knicks get with Jusuf Nurkic?

Nurkic is currently under a four-year/$70 million contract with the Blazers and is expected to earn approximately $19.3 million in 2025 before he becomes an unrestricted free agent in 2026.

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Robinson’s strength lies in his potent paint presence, but his restricted offensive capabilities limit the Knicks’ floor spacing and overall scoring. Given their poor offensive performance during the postseason, the Knicks’ priority for the next season will be to enhance shooting and floor spacing in their pursuit of becoming a genuine title contender.

Nurkic could be the answer to this requirement. The seasoned player has steadily increased his three-point shooting volume with each passing season. This season, he averaged a career-high of 2.3 attempts from beyond the arc per game and had an overall shooting percentage of 36.1% from the three-point range.

Nurkic could also continue to provide the Knicks with a robust interior presence, as he averaged 9.1 rebounds and 13.3 points on a 51.9% shooting rate this season.

While Robinson may excel more in defense and offensive rebounding, Nurkic’s contribution could significantly enhance the Knicks’ floor spacing, facilitating the star players to optimize their potential with greater ease.

Acquiring him in a trade isn’t out of the question, either. New York could potentially offer Obi Toppin and a promising young guard like Miles McBride, along with one or two first-round picks to Portland.

Will the Knicks make the decision to replace Mitchell Robinson with Jusuf Nurkic? Only time will reveal the answer.

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