Michael Porter Jr.'s Injuries, Not Contract, Concern Nuggets, Says Josh Kroenke

Tyler Conway@@jtylerconwayFeatured Columnist IVJune 5, 2022

DENVER, CO - APRIL 29 : Denver Nuggets forward Michael Porter Jr. is in the press conference at Ball Arena in Denver, Colorado on Friday, April 29, 2022.(Photo by Hyoung Chang/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
Hyoung Chang/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images

Denver Nuggets President and Governor Josh Kroenke said the team does not have buyer's remorse on the five-year, $172 million contract signed by Michael Porter Jr. last offseason.

"We're concerned about his injuries. We're not concerned about his contract," Kroenke told reporters Friday.

Porter was limited to just nine games during the 2021-22 season after undergoing lumbar spine surgery. He has undergone three different operations on his back during his playing career, dating back to his time at the University of Missouri.

Back issues cost him his entire rookie season and led to him playing limited minutes for much of his second season. Porter has ultimately started just 71 games at the NBA level, but he showed enough promise in those contests that the Nuggets felt comfortable lavishing him with a massive contract extension.

Porter broke out during the 2020-21 campaign, averaging 19.0 points and 7.3 rebounds while shooting 54.2 percent from the field and 44.5 percent from three. His combination of 6'10" size, shooting ability and capability of creating for himself off the dribble makes him one of the most unique offensive forces in basketball.

That said, there is a real concern as to whether Porter will be able to realize his full potential; he looked like a completely different, hobbled player before undergoing surgery last season.

If Porter is unable to stay healthy, that contract will become a concern—and fast.