Nuggets’ Jamal Murray agrees to richest Canadian NBA deal

Denver Nuggets guard Jamal Murray reacts after scoring against the San Antonio Spurs. (Eric Gay/AP)

TORONTO — Jamal Murray‘s breakout NBA season has paid off.

The 22-year-old from Kitchener, Ont., agreed to a five-year, US$170 million contract extension with the Denver Nuggets, the richest deal for a Canadian player in NBA history.

Murray’s agent Mike George confirmed the max contract extension to The Canadian Press, although contracts aren’t officially signed until the free agency moratorium period ends on Saturday.

Murray’s deal tops the five-year, $148 million deal that Canadian Andrew Wiggins signed with the Minnesota Timberwolves in 2017.

Murray, a Kentucky product who was drafted seventh overall by Denver in 2016, averaged 18.2 points and 4.8 rebounds this past season, guiding the upstart Nuggets to within a game of the Western Conference finals.

He poured in a career-high 48 points, including 19 in the fourth quarter, in a 115-107 in November, tying Steve Nash’s record for most points in a single game by a Canadian. Nash had 48 in a playoff game in 2005. Murray’s 48 is the most by a Canadian in a regular-season game, topping the 47 Wiggins scored in 2016.

Murray was 19-for-30 on the historic night, connecting on five three-pointers.

The Canadian, who recently returned from coaching in the NBA’s first-ever Basketball Without Borders camp in Medellin, Colombia, will earn about US$4.4 million this season before his contract skyrockets to US$29.25 for 2020-21.

The Denver point guard’s extension highlighted a busy opening night of NBA free agency for Canadians on Saturday.

The Dallas Mavericks acquired Kelly Olynyk in a sign-and-trade agreement with Miami, according to multiple reports. The 28-year-old Olynyk signed a four-year, $50-million deal with the Heat in 2017.

He’ll join fellow Canadian big man Dwight Powell in Miami’s front court. Powell, a 27-year-old from Toronto, reportedly agreed on a three-year, $33-million contract extension with Dallas on Saturday night.

Canadian point guard Cory Joseph is on the move from Indiana to the Sacramento Kings, according to numerous reports. The former Toronto Raptors guard from Pickering, Ont., joins Canadian coach Roy Rana, who left Toronto’s Ryerson University to join Luke Walton’s staff.

Murray’s massive contract tops the $12.5 million Edmonton Oilers star Connor McDavid earns annually.

Joey Votto is the highest-paid Canadian baseball player, agreeing to a $251.5 million, 12-year deal with the Cincinnati Reds in 2012.

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