SEPTEMBER 29: Porter’s extension is now official, the Nuggets announced today in a press release.
Meanwhile, more details have emerged on Porter’s fifth-year salary. Only $12MM of his $39.3MM salary for that season is guaranteed, sources tell Shams Charania and Sam Amick of The Athletic (Twitter link). It can become fully guaranteed based on All-Star, All-NBA, or All-Defensive honors, or MVP or Defensive Player of the Year awards.
According to Mike Singer of The Denver Post (Twitter link), one All-Star appearance for Porter would increase the fifth-year guarantee by $5MM, while two All-Star nods would fully guarantee that $39MM+ salary. There are several other potential triggers, Singer adds.
SEPTEMBER 27: The Nuggets and forward Michael Porter Jr. have reached an agreement on a five-year contract extension worth the maximum salary, agent Mark Bartelstein tells ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link).
The deal currently projects to be worth $172.5MM, based on the NBA’s projection of a $119MM salary cap for the 2022/23 season. However, the contract will include Rose Rule language, allowing Porter to potentially earn 30% of the cap in the first year of the extension (rather than 25% of the cap) if he makes an All-NBA team in 2021/22. In that scenario, the five-year contract would be worth a projected $207MM.
The fifth year of Porter’s contract will be partially guaranteed, according to Ryan McDonough of Audacy Sports, who reports (via Twitter) that MPJ’s fifth-year salary would become fully guaranteed if he meets certain “lofty” performance benchmarks.
The Nuggets’ investment signals how far the former 14th overall pick has come since missing his entire rookie season in 2018/19 due to a back injury. After playing a modest role in ’19/20, Porter became a key piece for Denver last season, averaging 19.0 PPG and 7.3 RPG with an impressive .542/.445/.791 shooting line in 61 games (31.3 MPG).
Porter still has plenty of room to improve on the defensive side of the ball, but the 23-year-old has displayed the potential to become one of the NBA’s very best scorers, so there was no chance the Nuggets would let him get away.
With extensions for Porter and Aaron Gordon completed this offseason, the Nuggets’ roster is getting very expensive. The newly-extended forwards won’t even be Denver’s highest-paid players — that honor belongs to veteran stars Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray, who are earning a combined $60MM+ in 2021/22.
As Bobby Marks of ESPN tweets, the Nuggets project to carry about $156MM in team salary for the ’22/23 campaign and are on track to be a taxpayer for the first time in over a decade. The team remains below the tax line for the ’21/22 season.
Porter’s deal is the fourth maximum-salary rookie scale extension to be finalized this offseason, with the Nuggets forward joining Luka Doncic, Trae Young, and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. As our tracker shows, Robert Williams is the only player who has received a rookie scale extension below the max so far in 2021.