2022 NBA free agency: Denver Nuggets star Nikola Jokic agrees to largest contract extension in NBA history

·3 min read

Back-to-back NBA MVP Nikola Jokic has agreed to a five-year, $264 million supermax extension with the Denver Nuggets — the largest contract in league history — according to Shams Charania of The Athletic.

The 27-year-old Serbian's deal is in addition to the $32.5 million he is owed this coming season in the final year of his rookie extension and will run through the 2027-28 campaign, when he will be paid $59.1 million.

Both sides made good on their end-of-season interviews. Tim Connelly, who left his post as Denver's president of basketball operations for the same job on the Minnesota Timberwolves in May, said prior to his exit, "There’s nothing more important organizationally than to make sure Nikola stays here as long as he wants to play the game." Connelly's replacement, general manager Calvin Booth, maintained that mantra.

Likewise, Jokic told reporters, once the offer reached the table, "Of course I’m going to accept it, because I really like the organization and really like the people who work here. I'm in a really good relationship with people who work here and a good relationship with everybody from the owner to the equipment manager.

“I think we have something that we’re building. It actually feels really good."

Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic is the NBA's two-time reigning MVP. (AAron Ontiveroz/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic is the NBA's two-time reigning MVP. (AAron Ontiveroz/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images)

Jokic has averaged 26.7 points (on 58/36/84 shooting splits), 12.3 rebounds and 8.1 assists in 34 minutes per game over the past two seasons, winning the league's past two MVP awards by a wide margin. He is the greatest passing center in history and leads the NBA in almost every all-encompassing advanced statistic.

His Nuggets lost a five-game, first-round playoff series to the eventual champion Golden State Warriors this past season, when Denver's second- and third-best players, Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr., played a combined nine regular-season games. When last the Nuggets were healthy, they reached the Western Conference finals. The 2021 trade acquisition of Aaron Gordon lifted Denver into title contention, but Murray tore his left ACL within weeks, and the Nuggets lost a second-round series to the Phoenix Suns.

All plan to enter the 2022-23 campaign ready to help Jokic compete for his first NBA Finals appearance. Nothing short of that will ease the pressure on the two-time MVP to certify his league status in the playoffs.

Karl Malone and Steve Nash are the only players with multiple MVP awards never to win a championship. The remaining 12 multi-time MVPs all have at least one title, including Giannis Antetokounmpo and Stephen Curry, who have won the league's past two Finals MVPs. Jokic is now their supermax contracted peer, and there is only one accomplishment left for the Nuggets superstar to vault himself into all-time greatness.

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Ben Rohrbach is a staff writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at rohrbach_ben@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @brohrbach