This front six has started to cost a lot of money.

Between them, Jokic ($51,415,938), Murray ($36,016,200), Michael Porter Jr ($35,859,950) and Aaron Gordon ($23,841,455) already cost a full salary cap. Adding on the salaries of fifth starter Kentavious Caldwell-Pope ($15,440,185) and sixth man Reggie Jackson ($5,250,000) has the team already bristling up against the luxury tax threshold, before even so much as suiting up the legal minimum number of players for a game.

Beyond those six, in an act of cost control, the $8,888,889 owed to reserve big Zeke Nnaji is the only non-minimum/non-rookie scale contract on the books. Those rookie scale and minimum-salary contracts pay for young players such as Christian Braun, Peyton Watson and Hunter Tyson – the idea is that these players will grow into the new bench stars, alleviating the requirement for external reinforcements.

Even then, though, the Nuggets have a payroll north of $190 million penciled in for 2024-25 without committing so much as a dollar on anyone new. Gone are the days when ownership could just underwrite substantial luxury tax bills. Now, the measures imposed on high payrolls are actively stifling.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here