The Trail Blazers and Nuggets have kicked off the NBA’s trade activity with a week and a half to go before the deadline, with Denver sending Jusuf Nurkic and a 2017 first-round draft pick to Portland in exchange for Mason Plumlee and a future second-round pick.
Both teams are currently hanging around the outskirts of the playoff picture—Denver is eighth in the Western Conference right now; Portland is ninth—though this swap of centers likely won’t turn out to be hugely significant in terms of what it means for the rest of the season. Plumlee’s more established, but Nurkic still has some potential at age 22. After playing second fiddle to Nikola Jokic all year, he was reportedly looking for a chance to get out of Denver.
Where this trade does matter a little more is that first-round draft pick. This gives the Trail Blazers three first-round picks (with this one joining their own and the one they got from Cleveland last month), which is especially enticing given what could be a strong draft class.