Nikola Jokic on Coach Michael Malone Contract-Extension: 'Money Changes People'



by NOUMAN RASOOL

Nikola Jokic on Coach Michael Malone Contract-Extension: 'Money Changes People'
© Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

"Nikola Jokic Comments on Coach Michael Malone’s Behavior Post-Mega Contract Extension with Nuggets" In professional sports, humor and honesty often reveal more profound truths. Such was the case with Nikola Jokic, the reigning Finals MVP, known as the “Joker” for his blend of on-court brilliance and off-court wit.

His recent remarks regarding Denver Nuggets head coach Michael Malone's hefty contract extension illuminate this dynamic. Jokic, with his characteristic lightheartedness, quipped about a perceptible shift in Malone's demeanor post-extension.

“Big time money now. He doesn't talk to the players anymore. He changed a little bit, but it's normal; that's what money does to people. But, we are going to figure it out,” he said, indicating a mix of jest and underlying truth.

Malone's Transformative Tenure

Michael Malone's journey with the Nuggets has been transformative. Since his arrival, the team has metamorphosed from a struggling squad into a formidable force in the NBA. His tenure began in 2015, inheriting a young team eager to rebuild after George Karl's departure.

Initially, the Nuggets grappled with challenges, missing playoff action in Malone’s first three seasons, including a narrow miss in the 2017-18 season. However, the narrative changed dramatically thereafter. With Jokic and Jamal Murray at the helm, the Nuggets surged into playoff contention, marking their ascent in the competitive Western Conference.

This rise culminated in 2023 with the Nuggets clinching their first-ever NBA championship, a testament to the team's growth and Malone's strategic acumen. Recognizing his pivotal role in this success, the Nuggets rewarded Malone with a lucrative extension, positioning him among the highest-paid and longest-tenured head coaches in the league, alongside names like Steve Kerr, Erik Spoelstra, and Gregg Popovich.

Jokic, whose tenure with Malone in Denver has paralleled his career, acknowledges the coach’s significant influence. “Every year, we got better; every year, we are growing,” he reflected. The Serbian star attributes the team’s championship victory to Malone's guidance and strategy, emphasizing the tangible progress under his leadership.

This mix of humor and earnestness in Jokic’s comments reflects the unique dynamics within the Nuggets organization and underscores the complexities and nuances in player-coach relationships in the high-stakes world of professional sports.

As the Nuggets continue their journey, the synergy between Jokic and Malone, encapsulated in both jest and mutual respect, will be pivotal in their quest for sustained excellence.

Nikola Jokic Denver Nuggets