When reports emerged Wednesday afternoon that the Trail Blazers intended to trade guard Damian Lillard to the Bucks, many naturally wondered how the future Hall of Famer would look in a new uniform after 11 years with Portland.
Because of Lillard’s star power, however, another departing Trail Blazer’s longevity was left under-examined. Center Jusuf Nurkić had spent parts of seven seasons with Portland before reportedly being shipped to the Suns as part of the deal.
Nurkić, for his part, seemed excited about the move. The Bosnian big man celebrated joining Phoenix, and drew laughs from fans around the world, by tweeting the "Suns in four" meme from the 2021 Western Conference semifinals.
In that 2021 series, the Suns swept the Nuggets en route to a trip to the NBA Finals. Phoenix fan Nick McKellar was filmed fighting two Denver fans he claimed were harassing him during Game 3, briefly achieving minor celebrity; his “Suns in four” declaration during the altercation has been a regional rallying cry in Arizona ever since.
To a new-look Suns team, Nurkić brings a lifetime average of 12.3 points, 8.6 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game, all of which he exceeded in a 52-game 2023 season.