Nikola Jokic

Nikola Jokic, Nuggets Agree To Super-Max Extension

11:18pm: Jokic’s super-max deal will include a trade kicker, tweets ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.


6:40pm: The Nuggets and two-time MVP Nikola Jokic have agreed to terms on a five-year, super-max extension that projects to be the richest contract in NBA history, sources tell Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link).

Jokic has one year remaining on his current contract, so his new deal will begin in 2023/24 and will be worth 35% of that year’s cap, with subsequent 8% raises.

With the NBA now projecting a $133MM cap for ’23/24, per Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report (Twitter link), Jokic is on track to earn a starting salary of $46.55MM and a total of $269.99MM across five seasons.

The contract will include a player option in the fifth year, per Charania. Jokic’s salary for that season (2027/28) projects to be worth $61.45MM.

Jokic, who met the criteria for a super-max extension a year ago when he won his first Most Valuable Player award, wasn’t technically eligible to sign such a deal until this year, when he had seven years of NBA experience under his belt.

He cemented his case for that super-max deal by winning a second MVP award in 2021/22, establishing new career highs in PPG (27.1), RPG (13.8), and FG% (.583) while also averaging 7.9 assists, 1.5 steals, and 0.9 blocks per game in 74 contests (33.5 MPG).

This extension agreement had long been anticipated. Jokic’s agent Misko Raznatovic said earlier in the year that he anticipated his client would sign a super-max extension, and the center himself confirmed in April that he’d accept the offer if the Nuggets put it on the table.

Extensions Imminent For Jokic, Booker, Towns, Morant, More

Nuggets center Nikola Jokic, Suns guard Devin Booker, Timberwolves big man Karl-Anthony Towns, and Grizzlies guard Ja Morant are all expected to reach verbal agreements with their respective teams on new long-term contract extensions soon after the NBA’s new league year begins tonight, according to Marc Stein (Twitter link).

Pelicans forward Zion Williamson and Cavaliers guard Darius Garland are also “widely expected” to receive extensions this offseason, Stein notes (via Twitter).

Morant, Williamson, and Garland will be eligible for rookie scale extensions, with the exact figures yet to be determined. Rookie scale extensions are available for former first-round picks entering their fourth seasons. The three players’ offers will likely include Rose Rule language that allows them to earn a starting salary of up to 30% of the 2023/24 salary cap (instead of 25%) if they meets certain performance criteria.

Even though Morant, for example, earned an All-NBA spot this year, he would have to make an All-NBA team again next season to qualify for the higher max — the Rose Rule criteria require a player to make All-NBA in either the season before his new contract goes into effect or in two of the three prior seasons.

Williamson’s extension could take a little longer to figure out, given that he’s appeared in just 85 career games and missed all of last season after setbacks following foot surgery last summer. Still, Pelicans executive VP of basketball operations David Griffin said he was “confident” that an agreement would be reached, the only question is how much money will be guaranteed up front.

Jokic, Booker, and Towns will all be eligible for super-max extensions, also known as Designated Veteran Extensions, worth up to 35% of the salary cap. At least one of the following must be a true for a player to be eligible for a Designated Veteran Extension:

  • He was named to an All-NBA team in the most recent season, or in two of the last three seasons.
  • He was named NBA MVP in any of the three most recent seasons.
  • He was named NBA Defensive Player of the Year in the most recent season, or in two of the last three seasons.

Booker and Towns both made All-NBA teams this past season, and Jokic was named the back-to-back MVP in addition to making All-NBA teams the past four seasons.

Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard is also likely to receive a two-year extension worth in excess of $100MM once the new league year begins, as relayed by Sean Highkin of The Rose Garden Report and Stein (Twitter links).

Fischer’s Latest: Turner, Sixers, Thybulle, Jazz, Micic

As the Pacers continue to weigh the possibility of trading center Myles Turner, the Timberwolves, Raptors, and Hornets are among the teams believed to be interested, writes Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report.

According to Fischer, the Knicks have showed interest in Turner in recent years too, but the expectation is that they’d only be a serious suitor for the big man if Mitchell Robinson leaves in free agency.

Here’s more from Fischer:

  • The Sixers have called “a healthy portion” of the teams around the NBA in an effort to gauge their interest in Tobias Harris, Danny Green, and Matisse Thybulle, sources tell Bleacher Report. Fischer suggests Philadelphia has been trying to find teams that would give up a first-round pick for Thybulle as part of a three-team trade that would send an impact veteran rotation to the 76ers.
  • The Jazz are seeking a first-round pick in exchange for any of their rotation players besides Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell, according to Fischer, who adds that Royce O’Neale is generating significant trade interest around the NBA.
  • Nikola Jokic is thought to be a “driving factor” in the Nuggets‘ interest in Serbian point guard Vasilije Micic, a draft-and-stash EuroLeague star whose NBA rights are held by the Thunder. The Spurs, Bucks, and Bulls have also been mentioned as potential suitors for Micic, Fischer reports.

Northwest Notes: Jazz, Workouts, Jokic, Wolves, Roddy

The Jazz hosted another free agent mini-camp this week, bringing in 20 players on Monday and Tuesday for a closer look, as our JD Shaw relays (Twitter links). While not all of the invitees have NBA experience, there are a handful of noteworthy names in the group, including former No. 2 overall pick Jabari Parker. Big man Reggie Perry, swingman Denzel Valentine, forward Bruno Caboclo, and guards Langston Galloway, Sindarius Thornwell, and Grant Riller were among the other players to audition for Utah.

Here’s more from around the Northwest:

  • The Jazz are working out six more draft-eligible prospects on Wednesday, according to Eric Walden of The Salt Lake Tribune, who tweets that Collin Gillespie (Villanova), Tommy Kuhse (Saint Mary’s), Josh Minott (Memphis), Darryl Morsell (Marquette), Henri Drell (G League), and Jermaine Samuels (Villanova) will be in town.
  • Nuggets star and two-time MVP Nikola Jokic has committed to playing for the Serbian national team this offseason, the Serbian Basketball Federation announced on Wednesday (hat tip to Johnny Askounis of Eurohoops). Jokic likely won’t participate in the qualifiers for the 2023 World Cup that will take place in a couple weeks, but he’s expected to be available later in the summer for the 2022 EuroBasket tournament.
  • Colorado State forward David Roddy, who went to high school in Minnesota, is working out for his hometown Timberwolves on Wednesday, tweets Darren Wolfson of 5 Eyewitness News. Roddy, the No. 30 prospect on ESPN’s big board, could be an option for the Wolves in the first round at No. 19 or in the second round if he slips — Minnesota holds the 40th, 48th, and 50th overall picks.

Northwest Notes: Gobert, Snyder, Nuggets, Jovic

With the Jazz seemingly ready to shake up their roster following yet another underwhelming postseason appearance, All-Star center Rudy Gobert could be made available in a trade. Tony Jones and Chris Kirschner of The Athletic assess the potential fit of Gobert on the Hawks, and what a hypothetical deal could cost Atlanta.

Jones opines that rim-rolling Hawks center Clint Capela has been a great fit with Atlanta. While he may not be at the level of Gobert as an all-around player, he is on a considerably more team-friendly contract. Kirschner notes that Gobert, a four-time All-NBA honoree and three-time Defensive Player of the Year, would be an obvious improvement at the position, and could help a defensively-challenged Hawks club upgrade on that end overall.

The duo discusses their hypothetical framework for a trade package. Multiple deals are posited that include Capela, draft compensation, and either guard Bogdan Bogdanovic or promising young forward De’Andre Hunter. On the Hawks side, Danilo Gallinari and John Collins are also considered as potential alternate trade candidates.

There’s more out of the Northwest Division:

  • Jazz head coach Quin Snyder kicked off a potential summer of upheaval for Utah when he opted to leave the club he had coached for eight seasons earlier this week. Eric Walden and Andy Larsen of the Salt Lake Tribune take a deep dive into Snyder’s departure. Snyder – who oversaw a lot of the team’s development during his tenure, including the design of their practice facility – made a list of pros and cons before ultimately deciding to depart.
  • After struggling defensively this season, the Nuggets may target players to help shore up their perimeter defense in the draft. Harrison Wind of DNVR Sports identifies seven wing prospects for Denver in the 2022 draft. Mike Singer of the Denver Post also explores five point guard prospects the Nuggets may consider as options behind current reserve point guard Monte Morris, including Kentucky guard TyTy Washington Jr., Overtime Elite guard Jean Montero, and Gonzaga guard Andrew Nembhard.
  • 6’10” wing prospect Nikola Jovic, currently with KK Mega Basket, could be available for the Nuggets when they make their selection in the 2022 draft with the No. 21 pick. After undergoing a Friday workout with Denver, the 19-year-old Serbian NBA prospect discussed the session with the Nuggets and the impact of Denver’s reigning two-time MVP, Serbian legend Nikola Jokic, per Kyle Fredrickson of the Denver Post. “I showed a little bit of everything,” Jovic said. “A little bit of my shot. A little bit of my passing skills. Guard skills. Low-post skills,” Jovic said. “I see myself as a guy who always knows what the coach wants me to do on the court.” Jovic also spoke about Jokic’s impact in their homeland: “For (Jokic) to be the two-time MVP, all the kids now, everybody wants to play basketball. Everyone is up late to watch him.” 

Nuggets Notes: Jokic, Connelly, Morris, Booth

Echoing Mike Singer’s reporting from earlier this week, Shams Charania and Sam Amick of The Athletic confirm that Nikola Jokic remains fully committed to the Nuggets and intends to sign a five-year, super-max extension this offseason.

According to The Athletic’s duo, Jokic’s brothers Strahinja and Nemanja have met with general manager Calvin Booth and assistant GM Tommy Balcetis in the days since Tim Connelly‘s departure to discuss the team’s future, while Booth and head coach Michael Malone have spoken on the phone to Jokic, who is in Serbia. Everyone is in the same page going forward, per Charania and Amick.

As the Nuggets continue to build around Jokic, Jamal Murray, and Michael Porter Jr., the focus for Booth and the new-look front office this offseason will be to add long, versatile, defensive-minded players, sources tell The Athletic.

The team will be open to surrendering more of its draft assets if that helps open up favorable opportunities to acquire win-now talent, according to Charania and Amick, since the goal is to compete for a championship and make the most of Jokic’s prime years.

Here’s more on the Nuggets:

  • The Timberwolves’ willingness to include equity in their offer to Connelly was viewed by the Nuggets as an obstacle they couldn’t overcome, say Charania and Amick. In addition to the Nuggets, the Kroenkes own franchises in other sports – including the NFL’s Rams and the NHL’s Avalanche – and had no interest in setting a new precedent on equity that might affect future negotiations with team executives.
  • John Hollinger of The Athletic takes a close look at the Nuggets’ situation going forward, wondering if the team will be open to trading Will Barton and/or Monte Morris this offseason. Hollinger suggests Morris could be more expendable due to Murray’s return and Bones Hyland‘s emergence.
  • Within his story, Hollinger notes that Connelly’s salary during his last season in Denver put him in the bottom half of the NBA’s lead basketball executives and suggests that the Nuggets have a history of investing minimally in their basketball operations department and organizational infrastructure.
  • Mike Singer of The Denver Post takes a closer look at what Calvin Booth will bring to the Nuggets’ head of basketball operations job, speaking to several people who have worked with him over the years. One source told Singer that Booth is more “structured” than Connelly and predicted he’ll have a lower tolerance for “locker room headaches.”

Jokic Comfortable With Nuggets’ Direction Following Connelly’s Exit

Star center Nikola Jokic is comfortable with the Nuggets‘ direction following the abrupt departure of president of basketball operations Tim Connelly for Minnesota, reports Mike Singer of The Denver Post.

As Singer details, Nuggets management has been in contact with Jokic this week, speaking to him over the phone to allay any concerns he might have about Connelly’s exit.

Singer previously reported that Connelly had created a positive work environment in Denver and had earned the trust of the Nuggets’ top players, including Jokic. With the 27-year-old entering a contract year and eligible for a five-year super-max extension this offseason, it made sense to gauge his feelings on the front office situation, especially since some reports have blamed Connelly’s departure on team ownership’s unwillingness to make a competitive counter-offer.

While it may not have been realistic to expect Denver to match a Minnesota offer that reportedly include ownership equity, the Nuggets will want to assure Jokic that they remain willing to spend what it takes to build a title contender.

For his part, Jokic has said he intends to sign his super-max extension once the Nuggets officially put the offer on the table, which they’re expected to do as soon as the CBA allows. With general manager Calvin Booth considered likely to take over for Connelly as the head of basketball operations in Denver, there’s no indication that the team’s or the two-time MVP’s stance on that super-max deal has changed.

Nuggets governor Josh Kroenke is scheduled to speak to reporters on Thursday for the first time in several years, says Singer.

2021/2022 All-NBA Teams Announced

The 2021/22 All-NBA teams have officially been announced by the NBA. For the fourth straight season, Bucks All-Star forward Giannis Antetokounmpo was unanimously selected to the All-NBA First Team by a voter panel of 100 media members. Antetokounmpo, 27, is making his sixth All-NBA team overall.

Antetokounmpo, reigning MVP Nuggets center Nikola Jokic, and Mavericks point guard Luka Doncic received the most votes. Suns All-Star shooting guard Devin Booker and Sixers All-Star center Joel Embiid rounded out the list of top five vote-getters. Because the All-NBA teams, unlike the All-Star squads, require just one center per team, Embiid was relegated to an All-NBA Second Team placing.

Below is a list of the three All-NBA teams. Vote tallies are listed in parentheses next to player names. Five points were awarded to players for a First Team Vote, three points netted for a Second Team vote, and one for a Third Team vote. Antetokounmpo earned a perfect 500 points.

All-NBA First Team

All-NBA Second Team

All-NBA Third Team

Jazz center Rudy Gobert and shooting guard Donovan Mitchell, Heat center Bam Adebayo and small forward Jimmy Butler, Celtics swingman Jaylen Brown, Bucks guards Khris Middleton and Jrue Holiday, Grizzlies shooting guard Desmond Bane, Suns small forward Mikal Bridges, Spurs point guard Dejounte Murray, and Raptors point guard Fred VanVleet all received All-NBA votes. Surprisingly, Nets point guard Kyrie Irving, who played in just 29 games this season, also received a single vote.

As we previously outlined, the All-NBA selections come with significant financial ramifications. As a result of being named to All-NBA teams, Booker and Towns have become eligible for super-max extensions that would begin in 2024/25. If they’re signed this offseason, those deals would be for four years and would start at 35% of the ’24/25 cap. According to Bobby Marks of ESPN (via Twitter), they currently project to be worth $211MM apiece.

Young’s five-year contract extension, which was signed last August and will go into effect in 2022/23, will now be worth 30% of next season’s cap instead of 25% by virtue of his All-NBA selection. Based on a projected $122MM cap, that means it’ll be worth about $212MM instead of $177MM.

Jokic had already met the super-max requirements prior to this announcement, since he won last year’s MVP award — he’s eligible to sign a five-year, super-max extension this offseason and has said he plans to do so. Doncic, who signed a maximum-salary contract extension last summer, also previously met the super-max criteria by earning All-NBA nods in 2020 and 2021.

Notable players who are not eligible this offseason for super-max deals include Morant and Bulls shooting guard Zach LaVine. As Marks tweets, Morant needs to make the All-NBA team again in 2023 to qualify for a starting salary worth 30% of the cap (instead of 25%) on his next deal.

LaVine, a free agent this offseason, would have been eligible to earn up to 35% of next season’s cap from the Bulls if he had made an All-NBA team, but will instead be able to earn no more than 30% of the ’22/23 cap on his next contract.

With their inclusions, Morant, Booker, and Young are making their All-NBA team debuts. Meanwhile, on the other side of the NBA aging curve, two 37-year-old veterans further cemented their Hall of Fame credentials during the 2021/22 season. James made his 18th All-NBA team, while Paul was named to his 11th All-NBA team.

Northwest Notes: Connelly, Wolves, Jokic, Trail Blazers

Nuggets president Tim Connelly faces several important decisions if he winds up running the Timberwolves, writes Chris Hine of The Star Tribune. Connelly is meeting with Wolves owner Glen Taylor this weekend, and the two sides appear to be getting close to a deal, per Hine.

Minnesota gave Chris Finch a four-year extension in March, so the coaching situation is stable. Connelly has experience working with Finch, who served as a Denver assistant in 2016/17. Things are less clear regarding the front office, which has been run by Sachin Gupta since Gersson Rosas was fired in September. Gupta recently made an important personnel move, hiring Steve Senior as assistant general manager.

As for the roster, Karl-Anthony Towns will be eligible for a super-max extension this offseason if the star center is voted onto an All-NBA team, Hine notes. Connelly would also have to determine whether to pursue extension talks with D’Angelo Russell, who is entering a contract year, and would be searching for ways to improve the roster to build on this year’s playoff appearance.

There’s more from the Northwest Division:

  • If Connelly joins the Timberwolves, he might bring a big-name executive from another organization with him, tweets Darren Wolfson of 5 Eyewitness News. Taylor isn’t expected to stand in the way of the rumored move, which is supported by incoming owners Marc Lore and Alex Rodriguez.
  • The Nuggets‘ lack of urgency to keep Connelly should make Nikola Jokic think twice about committing to the organization, argues Mark Kiszla of The Denver Post. Kiszla accuses Kroenke Sports & Entertainment, which owns the team, of treating everyone like they can be replaced, even Connelly, who built a potential title contender and was responsible for drafting Jokic in the second round. Connelly was upset that the Nuggets failed to offer him a long-term deal during the season, according to Kiszla, and that decision could cost the team one of its most valuable assets.
  • The Trail Blazers may target Charlotte’s Miles Bridges and Cody Martin in free agency, per Ian Begley of SNY.tv. Both players will be restricted free agents, so the Hornets could match any offer that Portland (or another team) makes.

Nikola Jokic Repeats As Most Valuable Player

Nuggets center Nikola Jokic has won his second straight Most Valuable Player Award, topping the SixersJoel Embiid and the BucksGiannis Antetokounmpo by a comfortable margin, the NBA announced in a press release.

Jokic received 65 first-place votes and 875 total points, putting him well ahead of Embiid, who finished second with 26 first-place votes and 706 points. Antetokounmpo came in third with nine first-place votes and 595 points.

Nobody else received a first-place vote, but Suns guard Devin Booker was fourth with 216 points and Mavericks guard Luka Doncic was fifth at 146 points. With 100 total voters, the balloting system awarded 10 points for a first-place vote, seven points for second, five points for third, three points for fourth and one point for fifth.

Other players receiving votes were the Celtics‘ Jayson Tatum (43 points), the GrizzliesJa Morant (10), the Warriors‘ Stephen Curry (4), the SunsChris Paul (2), the BullsDeMar DeRozan (1), the LakersLeBron James (1) and the NetsKevin Durant (1).

Jokic is the 13th player to win MVP honors in back-to-back seasons. He averaged 27.1 points, 13.8 rebounds and 7.9 assists in 74 games and helped the Nuggets earn the sixth seed in the West despite the absence of Jamal Murray and  Michael Porter Jr. Jokic was named Western Conference Player of the Month twice this season and reached the All-Star Game for the fourth straight year.

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski first reported on Monday that Jokic would win the award.