Nikola Jokic cashes in quickly as NBA free agency begins

The NBA generated more basketball-related revenue last season than ever before, totaling nearly $9 billion.

Business is good. The first night of free agency underscored how good it was.

Nikola Jokic and Bradley Beal quickly struck a deal worth more than $1 billion when they expire, underscoring the moves when the NBA’s annual free agency negotiating window opens on Thursday.

Jokic agreed to a contract extension with the Denver Nuggets, and the two-time reigning MVP guaranteed himself at least $264 million over five seasons starting in 2023-24. The final numbers could be up slightly, depending on whether the league’s salary cap in 2023-24 exceeds current projections.

Beal will make $250.9 million over the next five seasons after re-signing with Washington, a day after he turned down $37 million for the upcoming season from the team with which he spent his entire 10-year career.

Other extensions expected to come soon include super deals for Minnesota’s Karl-Anthony Towns and Phoenix’s Devin Booker. Then there’s a slew of rookie extensions that start Friday, with Memphis’ Ja Morant, Miami’s Tyler Herro and New Orleans’ Zion Williamson all on the roster.

Earlier Thursday, Kevin Durant told the Brooklyn Nets that he wanted a trade. No doubt this has had some impact on the decisions some teams are making or considering, and it’s surprising that one of the world’s top players is looking for a new location to play.

Jokic and Beal have previously signed lucrative contracts. For some, what they get this summer will be their first.

Anfernee Simmons, who had a breakout season for the injury-plagued Portland Trail Blazers last year – took advantage of his chances, and then some – agreed to a four-year deal with the club , a $100 million contract. And Ludot, who went undrafted three years ago and made about $4 million in three seasons in Oklahoma City, will stay with the Thunder for nearly $88 million over the next five years.

NBA number

The NBA has set new salary caps, luxury tax and other numbers that will be used next season and take effect Friday.

The cap is $123.655 million and the tax level is $150.267 million. The minimum team salary level is $111.29 million, and there are exceptions. The non-taxpayer median was $10.49 million, the taxpayer median was $6.479 million, and the capped team median was $5.401 million.

Tucker to Philadelphia

PJ Tucker is reuniting with Philadelphia general manager Daryl Morey, and — assuming he re-signs as planned — so is James Harden. Tucker agreed on Thursday to a three-year deal with the Sixers for $33 million. Morey, Tucker and Harden are all with the Houston Rockets; Harden announced Wednesday as a free agent and intends to return to Philadelphia. Tucker won a championship with Milwaukee in 2021 and helped Miami reach the Eastern Conference finals in 2022.

McGee selects Mavericks

Dallas and JaVale McGee — a three-time NBA champion and Olympic gold medalist — agreed to a two-season deal with McGee’s option for a third season worth about $20 million. McGee played for eight NBA teams before heading to Dallas for the second time; he played 34 games there in 2015-16.

Portis, Ingles to Bucks

Bobby Portis (four years, $49 million) will return to Milwaukee, and the Bucks are also bringing in veteran guard Joe Ingles. Ingles is signing a one-year contract, according to his wife, Renae Ingles, who tweeted: “Company CEO Renae Ingles is excited for Joe and their family.”

thermal decision

Miami will keep Victor Oladipo on a one-year, $11 million deal and Dwayne Dedmon on a two-year deal worth about $9 million, albeit with conditional protections in the second year.

magic keeps harris

Gary Harris signed with the Orlando Magic and the two sides agreed to buy the guard for two years for $26 million, the team said. The Magic also signed center Mo Bamba to a two-year contract.

Raptors move

Toronto is keeping forwards Chris Boucher (three years, $36 million) and Thaddeus Young (two years, $16 million).

of Bagley properties

Detroit moved quickly to lock down restricted free agent Marvin Bagley III, agreeing to keep him on a three-year, $37 million deal.

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