Nuggets starter makes appearance in 'worst NBA contracts draft'

Philadelphia 76ers v Brooklyn Nets
Philadelphia 76ers v Brooklyn Nets / Mike Lawrie/GettyImages

On the most recent episode of the Bill Simmons Podcast, the Ringer head honcho was joined by Wosney Lambre and Joe House, both of the Ringer, to bring back a recurring bit. That of course, is a draft where they select what they think are the worst contracts in the NBA.

The draft started off with some of the usual suspects, Ben Simmons, Jordan Poole, and Zach Lavine going in the top three. But a familiar face went in the later rounds, as Lambre selected the Nuggets’ own Michael Porter Jr. with the 17th pick in the draft.

Michael Porter Jr. contract

MPJ is making $33.4 million this season, $35.9 million next season, $38.3 million the following season, and a $40.8 million contract for the 2026-27 season, which is guaranteed with the Nuggets winning an NBA championship, as long as he hits the minimum games threshold.

The selection of Porter Jr. on this list isn’t shocking, in fact, his contract is a big reason I had him on my list of Nuggets most likely to be traded this offseason. He’s a good player, but he’s overpaid for the role he plays on the team.

He’s putting up 16.7 points and 7.0 rebounds per game this season and shooting 40% from the three-point line. But he’s not adding much beyond his shooting, and he’s still just an average defender at best. He’s not one of their three most important players on offense or defense.

It’s not hard to envision a scenario where MPJ is not on the floor late in a playoff game in favor of a young bench player like Peyton Watson or Christian Braun. And yet Porter Jr. makes almost an identical amount to Jamal Murray this season, over $11 million more than Aaron Gordon, and almost $20 million more than Kentavious Caldwell-Pope.

MPJ also has by far the most guaranteed money left on his deal of anyone on the roster not named Nikola Jokic. Needless to say, the other starters are going to expect a raise soon, and those will be harder to accommodate due to all the money allocated to Porter Jr.

Stars on the list

Some other notable players to appear in the draft include Bradley Beal, Karl-Anthony Towns, Trae Young, Kawhi Leonard, Damian Lillard, LaMelo Ball, Domantis Sabonis, Anthony Davis, and more. 

There were some bold takes, and the level of talent on the list shows that it’s not exactly a huge criticism of Porter Jr. But it’s definitely something to monitor as the Nuggets’ front office tries to keep this championship core together for the long haul.