Blazers sign Shaedon Sharpe; Jusuf Nurkic, Drew Eubanks reportedly back
The next move for the Portland Trail Blazers came early Friday with the reported signing of big men Jusuf Nurkic and Drew Eubanks.
Nurkic was expected despite entering the offseason as an unrestricted free agent. ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski is reporting that Nurkic's deal is four years, $70 million. That's $30 million less than the deal Portland reportedly gave fifth-year guard Anfernee Simons on Thursday,
Nurkic is coming off one of the best seasons of his career, averaging 15 points per game and 11.1 rebounds a night, the most boards per game of his career for a season.
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While Nurkic was named as part of the core that general manager Joe Cronin laid out at the close of last season, Eubanks' future was a little more uncertain.
Eubanks, from Troutdale, signed five 10-day contracts last season with the Blazers as the team went into full tank mode.
The homegrown forward/center played well though, averaging 14.5 points per game in 22 games along with 8.5 rebounds. Now he's back on a one-year deal according to Wojnarowski.
And after reportedly signing former Oregon State player Gary Payton II, Eubanks gives Beavers fans one more reason to like this Blazers roster.
Eubanks being signed and avoiding the summer league roster, which was released Thursday as well, it seems as if he's being slotted for backup duties at the 5 behind Nurkic.
Of course, it's still only the second day of free agency and plenty of more moves could be on the way, but seeing the signing of a former Reynolds High School player is an interesting and fun move.
Also, the team announced they have officially signed No. 7 draft pick Shaedon Sharpe. Contract details weren't released as the team gets ready for their July 7 Summer League debut.
The three signings bring Portland to 14 players on the roster with Damian Lillard, Simons, Josh Hart, Payton II, Sharpe, Nassir Little, Jerami Grant, Justise Winslow, Nurkic, Eubanks, Didi Louzada, Keon Johnson, Greg Brown II and Trendon Watford.
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Portland still has Brandon Williams on a two-way contract, and will have to decide how to sign 2022 No. 57 pick Jabari Walker, which seems likely that the Colorado forward is heading to the second two-way contract Portland can offer. And there's also the looming contract of Eric Bledsoe.
If Eubanks is the answer at backup center for the Blazers, the only move that feels like its left is one for a bigger starting forward to pair with Grant. But the signing of Payton II does give Portland a versatile defender who can guard above his 6-foot-3 stature.
It's July 1, there's time for quite a bit to change, but the offseason has already been one to improve Portland defensively with Grant and Payton II. Now the depth will need to be shored up and we'll see if Cronin and crew make a play at another forward using that Bledsoe contract and some of the deep rotation guys or picks.
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