Jusuf Nurkic requested a trade from the Denver Nuggets in April of 2016 and again in December before he was moved to Portland in February of 2017.

Nikola Jokic had emerged as the Nuggets' starting center during the 15-16 season while Nurkic was rehabilitating his left knee.

The Nuggets attempted to mend the relationship with Nurkic and promised he would open the season as a starter, but he realized there was a catch.

“In the first game, I only played three quarters,” Nurkić said. “I had 23 points and 9 rebounds. I’m playing a good game, we’re winning and I’m not playing in the fourth quarter? From that point, I could kind of see that something was wrong.”

The Nuggets were attempting to make it work with Nurkic and Jokic playing together, but Malone pulled Nurkic from the starting lineup after 25 games. Nurkic and his agent, Aylton Tesch, requested a trade for a second time.