Portland Trail Blazers center Mason Plumlee showed up to practice early on Sunday, but was rewarded for his punctuality with some bad news: He'd been traded to the Denver Nuggets, along with a 2018 second-round pick, for young center Jusuf Nurkic and a 2017 first-rounder.
To make matters much worse: Part of the reason he was there so early is because his SUV had been broken into. Whoever did it stole the center's wallet and checkbook.
"I went in early to the facility to start cancelling my checkbook, my credit cards," Plumlee told CSNNW. "And someone said, '[Trail Blazers GM Neil Olshey] wants to meet with you.'"
While Plumlee is enjoying a career season across the stat sheet—highs in points (11.1), rebounds (8), assists (4), and blocks per game (1.2)—the move is something of a coup for Portland, who's fighting with Denver for the eighth and final playoff seed in the Western Conference.
“They really handled the trade in a classy manner,’’ Plumlee said of his parting conversation with Olshey and head coach Terry Stotts. “They thanked me, and I thanked them. This organization has always been very good to me.’’
After the Blazers' summer spending spree, they wouldn't have been able to retain the services of Plumlee, a restricted free agent in the 2017 offseason. The 22-year-old Nurkic gives Portland a strong, cheap, young replacement with lots of potential on both sides of the ball.
The trade's benefits are less clear for the Nuggets, who already feature an exploding star at center in Nikola Jokic. They'll have the rest of the season to see if Plumlee and Jokic, two of the best passing big men in the league, can share the floor on defense. If not, they might not be so willing to afford Plumlee this summer if he'll strictly be a backup.