The Denver Nuggets are looking to make Nikola Jokic the face of their franchise. The center, who boasts a versatile skillset, is reportedly set to sign a max deal.
According to Yahoo! Sports, the Nuggets are expected to decline Jokic’s team option for next season, with the intention to ink the star center to a 5-year, $146.5 million deal.
By exercising a team option for his fourth season, Denver would have been gambling next summer. Even though the Nuggets could have retained Jokic at a $1.6 million rate, they run the risk of him leaving via unrestricted free agency. This potential deal would give the Nuggets a leg up on other teams, while also securing arguably their most promising player.
Nuggets president of basketball operations Tim Connelly originally drafted Jokic with the No. 41 overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft. Last season, Jokic tallied 18.5 PPG, 10.7 RPG, and 6.1 APG for a Nuggets team that fell just shy of the playoffs. He has also improved his three-point shooting, as he converted on 39.6 percent of his attempts during the 2017-18 season.
Jokic is seen as the key cog in a young core that includes Jamal Murray and Gary Harris. Additionally, the Nuggets drafted Michael Porter Jr. with the No. 14 overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft. If he can stay healthy, he would conceivably play the power forward position next to Jokic for the foreseeable future.
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