LOS ANGELES – Two-time defending NBA Most Valuable Player Nikola Jokic will stay with the Denver Nuggets on a five-year, $264 million supermax contract extension that is the biggest in league history, US media reported Thursday.
The Denver Post was among several outlets reporting Serbian star Jokic’s mammoth deal as the league’s free agency negotiating period got underway.
As the Post noted, the move wasn’t unexpected after Jokic, drafted in the second round by the Nuggets in 2014, indicated after Denver fell to the Golden State Warriors in the playoffs that he wasn’t interested in moving.
If the offer was on the table, he said at the time, “of course I’m going to accept it because I really like the organization, I really like the people who work here.”
He added that he was in a “really good relationship with everybody from owner to equipment manager.”
Such stability wasn’t to be seen everywhere, as reports that Brooklyn superstar Kevin Durant had requested a trade shocked the league on Thursday.
ESPN, citing unnamed sources, said Durant — a two-time NBA champion with the Golden State Warriors — was eyeing a move to either the Phoenix Suns or the Miami Heat, but that the Nets would be aiming to get the best deal possible for the star with four years remaining on his contract.
Durant, 33, re-signed with the Nets in 2021 for four years and $198 million.
He arrived in Brooklyn in 2019, departing Golden State as a free agent to form a superteam alongside point guard Kyrie Irving.
The Nets would later acquire guard James Harden, but the star trio never gelled.
Irving missed much of the 2021-22 season after declining to be vaccinated against coronavirus, a disgruntled Harden was traded to the Philadelphia 76ers in February and the Nets were swept in the first round of the playoffs by the Boston Celtics.
Durant’s trade request shook the league hours before the opening of free agency on Thursday, when teams can officially begin talks to sign players who are not under contract.
A day earlier, Irving exercised his option to remain under contract with the Nets for a $36.9 million in the upcoming season. However, there were widespread predictions that he, too, would seek to depart Brooklyn.
Get the hottest sports news straight into your inbox
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.
For feedback, complaints, or inquiries, contact us.