Michael Porter Jr. and the Denver Nuggets reached an agreement on a five-year maximum rookie contract extension worth up to $207 million, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski. Without incentives, Porter Jr.'s contract is worth $172 million.
Porter, 23, was among the most improved players in the NBA last season, fulfilling his considerable promise to average 19 points (on 54/45/79 shooting splits) and 7.3 rebounds in 31.3 minutes per game for the third-seeded Nuggets. A 6-foot-10 scoring threat from anywhere, Porter helped elevate Denver to championship contention, alongside reigning MVP Nikola Jokic, before Jamal Murray suffered a season-ending ACL injury.
Health remains Porter's biggest obstacle. The MVP of the 2017 McDonald's All-American Game, he was a five-star recruit coming out of high school. Back surgery cost him much of his freshman season at Missouri, dropping his draft stock significantly. The Nuggets drafted him with the 14th overall pick, and he underwent a second back surgery two weeks after signing his rookie contract, costing him the entire 2018-19 season.
Porter made his debut five games into the 2019-20 campaign. His defensive shortcomings led to sparing minutes in Denver coach Michael Malone's system, but his scoring prowess became undeniable. Porter's 25 points on 11-of-12 shooting against the Indiana Pacers midway through the season led to calls for more minutes until Malone ultimately relented. Back-to-back 30-point outings in the waning weeks of his rookie season cemented Porter's spot in the rotation, and he has been gaining confidence in his ability ever since.
Following recent news of Aaron Gordon's four-year, $92 million extension, the Nuggets now have three of their four core members signed through at least 2025. Jokic can be a free agent in 2023, but he is due for a supermax extension next summer. Luxury tax bills will come due for Denver ownership, but if Porter stays healthy and Murray returns to restore the Nuggets to title contention, they will be well worth the investment.
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