July 15, 2024

Ranking the contracts of the 5 Nuggets starters from most advantageous to potentially problematic, the Denver Nuggets have a clear understanding of their identity as a team. As the reigning NBA champions, they are led by the remarkable talents of two-time MVP Nikola Jokic, Jamal Murray, and Aaron Gordon. With their intact starting lineup for a second consecutive season, which also includes Michael Porter Jr. and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, the Nuggets heavily rely on their starting unit.

In terms of salaries, each of the Denver starters earns a minimum of $14.7 million this season and is committed to at least $15 million for the following season. Notably, none of the other players on the roster surpasses the $5 million mark in earnings.

Out of their $177,890,198 payroll for the 2023-24 season, an impressive $151.8 million is dedicated to their five starters. This formidable lineup propelled the team to a championship victory last season and positions them strongly for another title contention this season.

While the Nuggets’ front office decisions and financial allocations have generally been commendable, achieving NBA supremacy does not equate to flawless circumstances. Despite their present success, the team aims to sustain competitiveness and construct a dynasty around Jokic for enduring championship contention as he ages.

With this outlook in mind, it is essential to examine the contracts of the five starters, assess their longevity and impact on the team’s future, and rank them accordingly.

Nikola Jokic named 2021 NBA Most Valuable Player | CNN

  1. Nikola Jokic, 5 years $270 million: Exceptional value Describing Jokic’s contract as anything less than a colossal steal would be an understatement. As the premier player in basketball, he is the reigning Finals MVP and is poised to secure his third regular-season MVP award in four years. His current contract, although the maximum allowed at signing, significantly undervalues his unparalleled contributions to the Nuggets. Jokic’s potential to be regarded among the top 5-10 players in basketball history further underscores the bargain his contract represents. As his deal spans several prime years and coincides with the Nuggets’ championship aspirations, the financial figures may seem staggering but align with the escalating salary cap. Securing Jokic’s services is a stroke of fortune for the Nuggets, and they would willingly pay any amount to retain his unmatched talent.
  2. Jamal Murray, 5 years $158 million: Remarkable bargain Murray, the Nuggets’ second star, also boasts an immensely favorable contract. Serving as Jokic’s reliable partner, Murray’s pivotal role in the team’s success is underscored by his affordable contract. Despite his consistent performance and vital contributions to the championship-winning squad, Murray’s contract fails to reflect his true value, largely due to his absence from All-Star honors and occasional injuries. Nevertheless, his trajectory suggests impending recognition and a subsequent salary increase, potentially diminishing the bargain status of his current deal. Yet, Murray’s current contributions undoubtedly warrant every penny he earns, and his future earnings are likely to align more closely with his substantial impact on the Nuggets.
  3. Aaron Gordon, 4 years $86.6 million: Significant bargain Gordon’s contract stands as yet another testament to the Nuggets’ adeptness at securing valuable assets at favorable rates. As a key player in the championship formula, Gordon’s contributions extend beyond statistical measures, making his relatively modest salary a boon for the team. While his future contract negotiations may entail a substantial raise, his current performance justifies the potential increase. Gordon’s compatibility with the Nuggets’ system, particularly his synergy with Jokic, further underscores his importance to the team’s success. As long as the Nuggets can accommodate it, retaining Gordon’s services at an elevated salary remains a prudent investment in their championship ambitions.
  4. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, 2 years $30 million: Considerable bargain Caldwell-Pope’s contract exemplifies the Nuggets’ knack for acquiring impactful players at bargain prices. His versatility and defensive prowess significantly bolster the team’s competitiveness on both ends of the court. Despite his modest salary, Caldwell-Pope’s instrumental role in the Nuggets’ championship run underscores his immense value. However, his impending player option presents a potential dilemma for the Nuggets, as Caldwell-Pope may seek a more lucrative deal commensurate with his contributions. Nonetheless, his current contract represents a commendable investment in the team’s success, and his departure would undoubtedly leave a void in their roster.
  5. Michael Porter Jr., 5 years $179.3 million: Concerning Porter Jr.’s contract, while not entirely a nightmare, poses potential challenges for the Nuggets’ future roster management. While he possesses undeniable talent and has contributed positively to the team’s success, his inconsistency and defensive liabilities warrant scrutiny. Despite being the youngest member of the starting lineup, Porter Jr.’s contract surpasses those of his peers, raising concerns about its long-term sustainability. As the Nuggets navigate future negotiations with Murray, Gordon, and Caldwell-Pope, Porter Jr.’s hefty contract may necessitate difficult decisions to maintain roster cohesion. While his talent merits investment, his contract’s implications for the team’s future competitiveness warrant vigilance and strategic planning from the Nuggets’ front office.

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