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How the Gary Harris extension affects the Nuggets salary cap

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Gary Harris agreed to a contract extension with the Denver Nuggets, skipping free agency with a four year deal.

NBA: Preseason-Denver Nuggets at Golden State Warriors Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Gary Harris agreed to a four year, $84 million contract extension on Saturday night, according to Adrian Wojnarowski and confirmed by many others.

The contract is guaranteed to pay Harris $74 million, and there are $10 million in incentives that have yet to be publicized as of yet. The deal is a solid value for both Harris and the Nuggets, as the team gets a lower guaranteed deal for their books, and Harris gets financial security over the next four years with the option of adding a cool $10 million to his checkbook.

When Harris’s extension kicks in for the 2018-19 season, Harris will be earning 17 percent of the salary cap for that season. If a player had signed a similar contract in 2014, when Harris was drafted, that would have been a four year, $43 million contract (roughly). Nuggets fans may recall that Kenneth Faried signed a four-year, $50 million extension in 2014 - so in essence, Gary Harris signed for a contract that is a smaller percentage of the salary cap than Faried did at that time.

The deal does push the Nuggets towards the salary cap for the 2018-19 season. The Nuggets would be foolish to not try to agree to a new contract with Nikola Jokic next season, and he will likely garner a max contract from the Nuggets. If Wilson Chandler and Darrell Arthur decline their player options, the team would have $20 million off their books, but they’d be adding salary with their 2018 first round pick (which they currently own the rights to) and they’d have a gaping hole at small forward that would have to be filled by Juancho Hernangomez.

This does essentially eliminate the Nuggets from free agency next offseason, unless they’re able to move salary for that season off the books via trade. They’d be operating over the salary cap, and very close to the luxury tax in an ideal setting. The odds of players like Jameer Nelson and Will Barton returning to the team next season are very low.

Expect to see other teams announce rookie extensions in the following days. The deadline for extensions is October 16.