After the Denver Nuggets Game 5 loss to the Golden State Warriors, Nikola Jokić spoke to local and national media about the game, his matchups with Draymond Green, the season as a whole, and other off-season topics.
On the subject of his impending decision of whether to extend his contract with the Nuggets this summer, Jokić was very forthcoming:
“If offer’s on the table, of course, I’m gonna accept it because I really like the organization,” Jokić said. “I think we have something that we are building.”
The Nuggets have the capability to offer Jokić the “supermax” extension this off-season, a special provision added at the previous Collective Bargaining Agreement that allows teams with a franchise player to pay him a larger sum of money than any other team can offer. The supermax involves 35% of the salary cap in the first season of the contract with 8% increases in each subsequent year.
Estimates for the salary cap during the 2023-24 NBA year have changed, but a recent projection of $128 million would project a supermax extension beginning in that season to be an estimated five years, $262.8 million.
Here’s the projected salary by year:
- 2023-24: $44.8 million
- 2024-25: $48.4 million
- 2025-26: $52.2 million
- 2026-27: $56.4 million
- 2027-28: $60.9 million
An estimated total of $262.8 million in five years. That’s a lot of horse racing memorabilia. It would also be the largest contract in NBA history.
Seriously though, a verbal commitment from Jokić is a win for the Nuggets, no matter the cost. What he has done these past two seasons in MVP years is unprecedented. The Nuggets are at their best when Jokić is their leader, and he gave them a chance in just about every single game this year despite major absences from Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr. all the way through the playoffs. Jokić averaged 31.0 points. 13.2 rebounds, and 5.8 assists on 57.5 FG% in five games against the Golden State Warriors, keeping the Nuggets competitive in an impossible situation.
If that isn’t worth the supermax, nothing is.
As long as Jokić commits, the hard stuff is out of the way for the Nuggets. Jokić, Murray, Porter, and Aaron Gordon are locked up for at least the next three seasons. Bones Hyland has shown to be worthy of a major role going forward as well. The Nuggets still have Monte Morris, Will Barton, and Zeke Nnaji under contract for next season. There will need to be defensive additions made up and down the roster.
But as long as Jokić is around, the Nuggets have a chance. Hopefully, this is the beginning of Jokić’s next chapter with the organization as they hope to level up from a competitive team with an elite player, to an elite team with championship aspirations.