Michael Porter Jr., Nuggets Agree to 5-Year Contract Extension Worth Up to $207M

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistSeptember 27, 2021

Denver Nuggets forward Michael Porter Jr. (1) in the second half of Game 4 of an NBA second-round playoff series Sunday, June 13, 2021, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
David Zalubowski/Associated Press

Michael Porter Jr. is staying with the only NBA team he has ever known for the foreseeable future.

The Denver Nuggets and the forward agreed to a new five-year max contract extension that could be worth as much as $207 million on Monday, per ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.

Adrian Wojnarowski @wojespn

Porter Jr., deal is worth $172M unless he reaches the designated max criteria and makes one of the three All-NBA teams this season.

This comes after the Nuggets announced in December 2020 that they picked up the option on his initial contract for the 2021-22 season. He was also scheduled for restricted free agency during the summer of 2022 until reaching this agreement.

It isn't particularly surprising that Denver signed Porter to a new deal, as president of basketball operations Tim Connelly suggested it would be a priority after the team lost to the Phoenix Suns in the second round of the 2021 playoffs.

"Connelly said it's been the team's MO to sign players early regarding MPJ's early extension," Mike Singer of the Denver Post tweeted in June. "Said they'll sit down with his representation. Intimated it was the goal to get something done earlier rather than later."

The Nuggets took something of a chance on Porter when they selected him with the 14th overall pick of the 2018 NBA draft because of an injury history that cost him the vast majority of his one collegiate season at Missouri.

He also sat out what would have been his rookie campaign because of back surgery, but he showed flashes of why Denver took him in the first round in 2019-20 by averaging 9.3 points per game behind 42.2 percent shooting from three-point range. He also averaged double figures during a playoff run to the Western Conference Finals.

Still, it wasn't until the 2020-21 campaign that Porter broke through as a potential star in the making.

He averaged 19.0 points and 7.3 rebounds per game while shooting 44.5 percent from deep. He also assumed much more responsibility in the offense after Jamal Murray tore his ACL on April 12, and he scored more than 20 points 12 times and 30 or more four times in the next 15 games.

Porter also poured in 25 or more points in three of the six games during Denver's first-round playoff win over the Portland Trail Blazers.

There is plenty to like about this deal from the Nuggets' perspective, as the Missouri product is just 23 years old and an ideal complement to Nikola Jokic and Murray. He can take advantage of the space created by the attention those two draw with his outside shooting and is a matchup problem who can pull opposing power forwards out of the lane and create more operating space for Jokic.

Porter has a sky-high ceiling, and the Nuggets made sure it will be with them if he reaches it.