The Trail Blazers maxed out Damian Lillard last summer and promised to try and build a contender in the West around him. It hasn't worked out that way, the Trail Blazers are 23-25 and sitting 12th in the West with a bottom-10 defense.
While Fischer notes that this summer the Trail Blazers could max out Grant (five years, $233 million) he's not getting that contract either. Maybe the middle ground is in the five-year, $160 million range, but whatever the number is Grant isn't looking to bolt the Pacific Northwest. Look what he told Jason Quick of The Athletic:
Two players who could be leaving - via trade - are Josh Hart and Jusuf Nurkic. They are drawing interest as Portland considers shaking things up, Fischer reports.
Hart is a front-office favorite around the league - at least on his old contract - and is seen as a versatile role player who has become a plus defender, can hit some 3s (33% from deep this season but 37.3% last season), and can put the ball on the floor and finish at the rim. He could fit in a lot of teams' rotation, there will be interest, but with him on an expiring contract, the offers will not be high.
Nurkic, who signed a four-year $70 million contract last summer, is averaging 14.1 points per game, is shooting 38.5% from 3 and is grabbing 9.7 boards a night. He's also averaging a career-high 2.6 turnovers a night (one of the culprits of the Blazers' sometimes sloppy play), and while not a negative defender has not been the kind of anchor the Blazers hoped for this season.
Portland needs to do something. Lillard has returned from injury to play at an All-NBA level - even dropping a 60-spot the other night - but even after all their summer moves this is the same old Portland team with not enough around Lillard to threaten the top teams in the West.
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Report: Trail Blazers trying to extend Grant (with no luck), open to trade of Hart, Nurkic originally appeared on NBCSports.com
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