Nuggets May Sign 1st NBA Record-Breaking $419 Million Contract: Analyst

Mike Malone

Getty The Denver Nuggets could sign Nikola Jokic to the NBA's first $400 million contract.

Denver Nuggets star Nikola Jokić has a chance to sign the NBA’s first $400 million contract in 2028, per Bleacher Report’s Bryan Toporek. The NBA’s new television deals means the salary cap is going to rise in the coming years.

The salary cap and players’ contracts are largely impacted by these TV deals. The good news for Denver is that the team has some time until Jokić’s cost will rise.

Jokić signed a five-year, $276 million contract that is slated to run through 2027-28. The MVP has a player-option for the 2027-28, meaning Jokić could become a free agent as soon as 2027.

Sports Business Journal’s Tom Friend reported that the NBA is on the verge of signing a $2.8 billion deal with ESPN, an estimated $2.5 million for the league to return to NBC and a $1.8 billion deal with Amazon. All this has the NBA projected to land total media deals topping a combined $7 billion.

“Industry sources believe ESPN will ultimately pay $2.8B annually — though other industry sources insist it is still an earlier reported $2.6B — for the league’s ‘A’ package, which includes the NBA Finals, a conference final, weekly primetime games, the WNBA and likely shared international rights,” Friend detailed in a May 22, 2024 story titled, “NBA formalizing deals with Disney, Amazon, NBC.”

“NBC’s proposed ‘B’ package is believed to be worth between $2.5B and $2.6B annually and would probably include a ‘Basketball Night in America’ or ‘Sunday Night Basketball’ following the NFL season, a total of two primetime windows a week, conference semifinals and a conference final,” Friend added.

“Amazon’s deal is believed to be worth between $1.8B and $2B and would likely include the Emirates In-Season Tournament, the SoFi Play-In Tournament, first-round playoff games, the WNBA and international rights.”

Under the New NBA Media Deals, We Could See Our First $400 Million Contract in 2028

Given the spike in revenue gained from the league’s television deals, we are also headed for a salary cap that will significantly rise. Spotrac’s Keith Smith broke down the likely numbers for the salary cap beginning in the 2025-26 season when the new media deals begin.

“Some fun numbers! The NBA getting $7B per year for media rights will likely lock in 10% cap growth (that is the max the cap can go up) per season starting in 2025-26,” Smith detailed in a May 22 message on X. “If so, the cap will top $200M in the 2028-29 season. A 35% max salary that year projects to be $72M. The fifth-year salary on that max deal? $95M. Total value of that max deal? Five years, $419M.”

Nuggets Rumors: Nikola Jokić Has a Chance to Sign a 5-Year, $419 Million Deal

Jokić has a chance to be the first player to land that $419 million deal but would need to play out the final season of his contract in 2027-28. Here’s what would need to happen for Jokić to sign a five-year, $419 million deal as his next contract.

“Jokić is under guaranteed contract through 2026-27, and he has a $62.8 million player option in 2027-28,” Toporek detailed in a May 23 article titled, “Ranking the Wildest Salaries and Contracts NBA Superstars Could Get Over Next 5 Years.” “If he turned down that player option, he’d be eligible for the same five-year, $381 million extension that Shai Gilgeous-Alexander can potentially sign in 2026-27.

“In the unlikely event that Jokić picks up his 2027-28 player option, he could sign the NBA’s first $400 million contract. 2028-29: $72,253,335 2029-30: $78,033,602 2030-31: $83,813,869 2031-32: $89,594,135 2032-33: $95,374,402 Total: $419,069,343.”

Read More