Tim Connelly has been busy this offseason, and he capped off September by signing Michael Porter Jr. to a five-year max extension with the Denver Nuggets, per Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:

As noted in the tweet, it will be for 5 years and $172 million unless Porter makes an All-NBA team this year. That would create the scenario for him to get the boost up to $207 million. Wojnarowski notes this is the same basic deal that Luka Doncic and Trae Young have signed.

The first question of course is whether he is worth this after just one full season on the court. Jamal Murray faced similar questions when he signed a similar 5 year max extension a couple of years ago, but Denver is working with less on-court information than they had for Murray. In both cases though, it was a projection. The MPJ that just posted the second-most-efficient 19+ PPG season in NBA history (to Wilt Chamberlain in the Mesozoic Era of the NBA) is certainly worth that if that’s what Denver can count on. If the improvements in his defense and with his handle are real, Denver would absolutely have paid this next offseason, and they are taking doubt out of it by doing it now.

For a player labeled selfish and an injury disaster prior to the draft, Porter has been a consummate team player and healthier than several of his teammates. The back concerns haven’t materialized, with his only major time missed being a rolled ankle and Covid protocols. Porter will have the chance to prove he is worth that contract this year with Murray out and Porter filling the Second Star role next to Nikola Jokic, but I still remember when the Oklahoma City Thunder threw away a championship because they didn’t want to pay James Harden a couple of extra million dollars and traded him instead.

Denver seems convinced that the offensive trio of Jokic / Murray / Porter can get them a championship, and after locking in supporting players like Will Barton and Aaron Gordon to their own multi-year deals, the Nuggets have put their money where their mouth is.

After years of Not Skipping Steps, Denver has remembered to take one of the hardest ones: paying the price tag to field a championship contender. Congratulations to Michael Porter Jr. on his extension, and to Denver fans on seeing their ownership bite down on that bullet and open the wallet to keep this group together for years to come.

Somebody start the season already!

This content is no longer available.