The Denver Nuggets have signed star guard Jamal Murray to a five-year contract extension, it was announced on Wednesday.

Murray's new deal with the Nuggets – who reached the NBA Western Conference semi-finals last season – is reportedly worth $170million.

The 22-year-old was set to become a restricted free agent next offseason and is scheduled to make about $4.4m in 2019-20.

Murray was selected seventh overall by Denver in 2016. He is coming off the best season of his career so far after averaging 18.2 points, 4.8 assists, and 4.2 rebounds on 43.7 per cent from the field and 36.7 percent from beyond the arc.

"I want to thank the man above for showing my family and I how life works in a full circle," said Murray. "I also want to thank the Nuggets organization for believing in a kid from a small unheard-of town in Canada, and finally to Nuggets fans, I can't wait to shoot more arrows for you all."

Nuggets president and governor Josh Kroenke added: "It's an exciting day for our franchise to officially announce this contract extension with Jamal.

"My father and I know what kind of kid Jamal is both on and off the court, and there wasn't a second of hesitation to get this done as soon as we could. He is an extremely talented player and we look forward to watching him continue to grow as one of the cornerstones of this team for many years to come."

The Denver Nuggets surprisingly finished second in the Western Conference this season, but fell to the Portland Trail Blazers in the second round of the NBA playoffs.

Denver's young team accomplished more than what most expected them to, and there is still room for growth.

Here are three reasons the Nuggets can be even more dangerous in 2019-20.

 

Denver still have Porter Jr. in their back pocket

The Nuggets selected Michael Porter Jr. with the 14th pick in the 2018 NBA draft, and he might have been the steal of the night.

The 6-10 forward was considered to be the consensus top pick in the draft by many out of high school, but an unfortunate back injury kept him sidelined for most of his freshman season at Missouri. Concerns over his health likely caused him to drop, and while the Nuggets held him out for all of 2018-19, a healthy return this year could take them to the next level.

Porter has all the tools necessary to be a difference maker. He is long, can score from all three levels, handles the ball, has quick feet for his size and can create opportunities for his team-mates.

The Nuggets had the least production from the small forward spot this season. In fact, Denver only had one player even listed at the position. Porter will likely spend the bulk of his minutes there, and he could genuinely make the team better in almost every aspect of the game. This year's summer league will show how much he has progressed in a year of training.

 

Denver's stars haven't peaked

It is safe to say this season's Nuggets could only go as far as Jamal Murray and Nikola Jokic could take them. These two were Denver's most vital pieces in 2018-19, and they likely are not finished products just yet.

Murray, 22, averaged 18.2 points and 4.8 assists. Both of these stats are only second to those of Jokic. The Serbian big man led Denver in points per game (20), rebounds per game (10.8), assists per game (7.2) and steals per game (1.4).

Denver entered the season as the second-youngest team in the NBA and had the second-least experience. But they won 54 games and only trailed defending champions the Golden State Warriors in the league's most competitive conference.

The Nuggets were tested in not one, but two seven-game series in the playoffs. If given time to develop their skills and mindsets, the Nuggets could be more lethal moving forward.

 

Nuggets' roster has flexibility

Some coveted talent is hitting the market this summer and Denver could take advantage of that. Their bench point production ranked in the middle of the pack last season, and while they could use some improvement, the Nuggets could scour the free-agent waters for a big catch.

Trey Lyles, Isaiah Thomas and Tyler Lydon's contracts have expired and Denver have a team option on the final year of Paul Millsap's three-year, $90million deal. Should the Nuggets part ways with Millsap – who posted his lowest scoring numbers since the 2007-08 season – they have a ton of options who could replace him.

Tobias Harris, Julius Randle and Nikola Mirotic come to mind as possible fill-ins, but guards could also prove to be valuable. Regardless, the Nuggets have proven they can win a lot of games and many could consider joining a team that appears like they will be competitive for years to come.

Mike Malone is optimistic about the Denver Nuggets' future.

The Nuggets lost Game 7 of the Western Conference semi-finals against the Portland Trail Blazers 100-96 at home on Sunday.

Despite the defeat, Malone believes the team are trending in the right direction.

"The future is so bright. You guys heard me say it all postseason," Malone said.

"I love where we're at, but more importantly I love where we're going and who we're going there with."

The Nuggets had the youngest team in this year's postseason. Their roster was headlined by All-Star center Nikola Jokic and blossoming guard Jamal Murray.

Paul Millsap, 34, has the most postseason experience of the group, who were forced to Game 7s twice in this year's playoff stint.

Despite their lack of experience, Denver weathered the storm and finished the regular season as the second best team in the Western Conference.

Malone emphasised that Murray is expected to be very important to the team moving forward after he struggled shooting in the Nuggets' chance to close out Portland.

"We won 61 games this year," Malone said.

"It's been over 10 years, I think, since we've won that many games. And Jamal will be a huge part of that future. Going into the offseason having a game like he had, you know, four of 18 from the field. That's going to be a great motivational tool for him.

"Great players bring it every night and they produce every night. He [Murray] didn't have a great night, but it wasn't for a lack of effort. We would not be here without Jamal Murray's efforts all season long."

Murray averaged 21.3 points through his first 14 career playoff games.

The Toronto Raptors topped the Philadelphia 76ers 101-96 to level the Eastern Conference semi-final series at 2-2, while the Denver Nuggets beat the Portland Trail Blazers.

Raptors star Kawhi Leonard torched the 76ers for a game-high 39 points and 14 rebounds in Game 4 of the NBA playoff clash on Sunday.

Jimmy Butler was a driving force for Philadelphia once again, finishing with 29 points and 11 rebounds in the losing effort as Joel Embiid struggled due to illness.

Denver stopped the Trail Blazers from going up 3-1 in the Western Conference semis by claiming a 116-112 victory in Portland.

Jamal Murray tallied a game-high 32 points and made all 11 of his free throw attempts while team-mate Nikola Jokic recorded a triple double in the Nuggets' winning effort. 

Damian Lillard poured in 28 points but his fourth quarter efforts were not enough to pull Portland ahead.

The series is all tied up and Game 5 will be in Denver. The Nuggets were one of the best teams at home during the regular season in 2018-19.

 

Redick impresses

JJ Redick totalled 19 points and made four three-pointers for the 76ers.

CJ McCollum finished with a team-high 29 points for Portland.

 

Siakam struggles

Pascal Siakam only managed nine points on two-of-10 shooting.

Monte Morris scored two points on one-of-six shooting for Denver.

 

Kawhi cool under pressure

Leonard was unfazed by the pressure and sank a dagger from behind the arc in the fourth quarter.

Murray elevated over two Trail Blazers for an emphatic slam.

 

Warriors at Rockets

The Houston Rockets defended home court in Game 3 and have a chance to even the series up on Monday. The Rockets squeaked by with an overtime victory at Toyota Center despite a 46-point performance from Kevin Durant. But, Golden State Warriors star Stephen Curry probably will not be as bad down the stretch for a second consecutive game.

Jamal Murray will be fit for Game 3 of the Denver Nuggets' Western Conference semi-final against the Portland Trail Blazers despite being troubled by a thigh injury.

Murray was withdrawn late in the 97-90 defeat on Wednesday that pegged the Nuggets back to 1-1 in the series.

The guard says he is still feeling the effects of a screen from the San Antonio Spurs' Jakob Poeltl in round one of the NBA playoffs, but will be ready to face Portland on Friday.

"Those screens hurt," Murray said. "It is what it is. It hurt for the rest of the game. Couldn't move, obviously, and coach [Michael Malone] had to take me out.

"I'm just going to get treatment and just be ready for Game 3. It was definitely hurting."

Murray says the Nuggets may have to change their approach in order to regain the initiative this weekend.

"It's a fine line, it's a balance. Shooters shoot, but at the same time we're still shooting and they're not going down," he said.

"We made some changes in the third and they still didn't go down for a while, so we've got to make some adjustments earlier. Whether that's mixing it up earlier or try to play a faster game, we've got to change something."

Jamal Murray produced a "phenomenal" performance in the second half of Game 2, according to Michael Malone, as the Denver Nuggets levelled the series with the San Antonio Spurs.

Murray scored 21 points in the fourth quarter as the Nuggets came from behind to win 114-105, ensuring they travel for back-to-back matches in Texas all square.

It had been a frustrating night for Murray in the opening half, but after a pep talk from Malone he came to life to inspire the Nuggets to a memorable victory.

And Malone was delighted to see the 22-year-old guard deliver on the playoff stage.

"Phenomenal. I'm really proud of him," Malone told his post-match media conference.

"He was so frustrated at half-time, [he was] not making shots, shots he been making his whole career. I just grabbed him and said 'take a deep breath, I believe in you', and for him to go out there and get 24 points, 22 in the second half was great to see. 

"For him to have some success after Game 1 and the first half, really happy for Jamal for him to step up and basically close the game out with the shot-making he had down the stretch.

"The first of many for Jamal Murray, I have no doubt."

Murray had vowed to "bounce back" after just 17 points and two rebounds in Game 1, and he thanked his team-mates and the Denver crowd for helping him achieve that.

"In the fourth, when I stepped on the court I just looked at the crowd, took it all in. I've always dreamed of playing a playoff game and that's what got me started," he told reporters.

"Everybody told me to stick with it, I don't think I scored a field goal until the fourth, so I stuck with it and that [the crowd] got me going."

Russell Westbrook said the fourth-quarter scuffle between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Denver Nuggets started because Jamal Murray was in his way. 

Seven-time All-Star Westbrook attempted to move ahead of a jump-ball situation with 35.7 seconds left in the match after Paul George changed his stance ahead of competing with Torrey Craig for possession, but Murray was unwilling to budge. 

The 2017 MVP responded by shoving the Nuggets guard and then had a confrontation with Nikola Jokic, who ran in to help defend his team-mate. 

Westbrook and Murray were handed technical fouls, with the Nuggets seeing out a 109-98 victory that sent them back to the top of the Western Conference. 

"He was in my way," said Westbrook, when asked what started the incident. 

On whether Murray had said anything to him, he replied: "I really don't know. It doesn't really matter. It doesn't mean nothing."

Murray felt Westbrook's frustration at an impending defeat got the better of him in the heat of the moment.

"I was standing in my spot, he tried to step over me, and then he shoved me first. I guess they were losing or whatever, so I don't know, ask him," he said.

"Like I said, I didn't do anything. It was probably because he was losing.

"We're up, there's 30 seconds left. What do you want me to do? I'm not doing anything."

Kyrie Irving branded Jamal Murray's last-gasp three-point attempt as a "b******* move" after the Boston Celtics suffered a loss to the in-form Denver Nuggets.

Juan Hernangomez saved the Denver Nuggets' win over the Golden State Warriors in the NBA on Sunday.

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