Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium is reporting that the Denver Nuggets have agreed to a five-year $170 million extension with their 22-year-old point guard, Jamal Murray.
Murray averaged 18.2 points, 4.2 rebounds, and 4.8 assists per game on 44% from the field last season, and 21.3/4.4/4.7 on 43% in his first ever playoffs as the Nuggets advanced to the second round of the NBA playoffs for the first time in ten years. The decision to extend Murray comes as no surprise, however the timing does. Murray was set to enter restricted free agency next summer, virtually locking him into a future with the Nuggets unless the team decided otherwise. No team could have offered Murray the contract that he just agreed to, so Denver could have matched a cheaper extension.
The Nuggets opted not to wait and to instead show their confidence in Murray, the budding star and dynamic pick-and-roll partner with the face of the franchise, Nikola Jokic. By agreeing to this maximum extension now, Murray is set to make more than Denver’s only All-Star.
The difference between this maximum extension and a potential matched offer sheet is not insignificant. It gives Denver less room to add talent around their young trio, unless this contract is a sign of ownership’s willingness to open up the wallet, and enter the tax in the seasons to come.
ESPN’s Front Office insider, Bobby Marks, tweeted out the full breakdown of the extension:
Here are the numbers on a Jamal Murray rookie max extension:— Bobby Marks (@BobbyMarks42) July 1, 2019
Murray will be subject to the poison pill provision (basically cannot be traded for one year)
This is a real gamble by the Nuggets to commit such a large number to Murray, and it’s up to the 22-year-old to make sure they didn’t just lock themselves into trouble. The Nuggets brass have vocalized their confidence in Murray, and now they’re putting their money where their mouth is with this max deal. Denver will enter a wide open title race, banking on their young core, and their continuity. The pressure is officially on.