The Denver Nuggets have traded big man Jusuf Nurkic to the Portland Trail Blazers for center Mason Plumlee, according to multiple reports.
The Nuggets also receive a second-round pick and cash, while the Trail Blazers get a first-round selection, giving them three in the upcoming draft.
Nurkic, a 22-year-old who is 7-foot-0 and 280 pounds, is averaging 8.0 points and 5.8 rebounds in 17.9 minutes a game this season. He is known as the “Bosnian Beast” became somewhat expendable with the emergence of Nikola Jokic.
The 6-11 Plumlee, 26, was a first-round pick by Brooklyn in 2013 before being dealt to Portland two years later. The former Duke standout is average career highs of 11.1 points, 8.0 rebounds and 4.0 assists for Portland, which sits a game behind Denver for the eighth playoff spot in the West. Plumlee will be a free agent after this season.
The Vertical first reported the trade, with the Associated Press and ESPN also confirming it.
Sprewell return to Madison Square Garden
Former New York Knicks star Latrell Sprewell has returned to Madison Square Garden for the first time in 13 years, just two days after Charles Oakley was banned from the building.
Sprewell sat behind the baseline Sunday next to MSG chairman James Dolan, who banned Oakley from the arena after he was arrested last week following an altercation with security while attending a game.
Perhaps to back Dolan’s point that the franchise has strong relationships with almost all its other former players, the Knicks showed a number of them on the video board during their game against San Antonio, including Larry Johnson, Bernard King, Vin Baker, Kenny Walker and Herb Williams.
Sprewell hadn’t been here since Dec. 29, 2004, when he played with the Minnesota Timberwolves. The season before, he had cursed at Dolan during a Timberwolves victory in his first game back after being traded. Sprewell spent five seasons with the Knicks, helping them reach the 1999 NBA Finals.
Cleveland Cavaliers forward Kevin Love’s sore left knee will sideline him for at least one game and could keep him out of the All-Star game. Love complained of soreness in his knee following Saturday’s win over Denver. He underwent an MRI exam on Sunday. The team did not reveal results of the tests but said Love will miss Tuesday’s game at Minnesota. Love, who recently missed several games because of back spasms, will undergo further treatment and evaluation in the next few days. … The Chicago Bulls were severely short-handed for Sunday’s game against Minnesota. If Jimmy Butler’s heel doesn’t improve quickly, the Eastern Conference could face a similar issue in the All-Star game next weekend. The Bulls scratched Butler, Dwyane Wade (right wrist), Nikola Mirotic (back spasms) and Paul Zipser (illness) for the game against the Timberwolves, the final one of a six-game road trip.