Portland Trail Blazers and Denver Nuggets pull off a big trade

Los Angeles Clippers v Portland Trail Blazers - Game Six

The first big trade of the NBA season happened on Sunday, involving Western Conference (and Northwest Division) rivals in the Denver Nuggets and Portland Trail Blazers.

Backup centers Mason Plumlee and Jusuf Nurkic were at the heart of the deal, with Plumlee heading to Denver and Nurkic moving west to Portland.

However, sweetening the deal for the Blazers is a first-round 2017 NBA Draft pick, which originally belonged to the Memphis Grizzlies.

According to Adrian Wojnarowski, who originally reported the trade, Portland will send a 2018 second-round pick to the Nuggets to complete the deal:

Wojnarowski added that the Blazers now have three first-round picks in the 2017 draft, which many believe is loaded with NBA-ready talent.

Atlanta Hawks v Denver Nuggets

Though Plumlee has been playing well lately and is averaging 12.1 points and 10.2 rebounds in his last 10 games, receiving a third first-round pick was likely too promising to pass up.

Nurkic, who is averaging eight points and 5.8 rebounds per contest for the Nuggets this year, should be able to replace most of Plumlee's production. 

At 24-30, the Nuggets are currently one game ahead of the 23-31 Blazers for the No. 8 seed in the Western Conference playoff race. Sunday's move may not signal that Portland is giving up on the 2017 season, but it does appear the team anticipates a very different roster in 2018 after adding three first-round players in the draft this year.

Of course, the Blazers could use those three picks to make another trade before this year's deadline, or to pursue a trade for star player this offseason.

Whatever the Blazers decide to do, they've given themselves a lot of good options for the future. The Nuggets, on the other hand, made a shrewd move for this year's playoff race, as they look to put more distance between themselves and the teams nipping at their heels for the final playoff spot.

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