The Denver Nuggets rewarded shooting guard Gary Harris’ remarkable improvement by signing him to a four-year contract extension worth $84 million, including $74 million in guaranteed money. Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reported that the two sides agreed to an extension days before the October 16 deadline. Earlier, Matt Moore of CBS Sports said that the Nuggets and Harris were close to hammering out a deal. Harris will play the final year of his rookie contract for the 2017-18 season before the deal takes effect next summer. The deal will make Harris the Nuggets’ second-highest paid player, next to Paul Millsap, who signed a three-year, $90 million deal in the offseason.

A first-round pick by the Nuggets in 2014 out of Michigan State, the 23-year-old Harris had a forgettable rookie year, averaging just 3.4 points in 55 games, with just six starts. The following year, Harris increased his scoring output to 12.3 points per game in 76 games, all starts. He also made 46.9 percent of his shots from the field and 35.4 percent from beyond the arc. Last season, Harris was limited to just 57 games but he still averaged a career-best 14.9 points per game and shot 50.2 percent from the field and 42.0 percent from beyond the three-point line.

Harris joins elite company of shooting guards

According to Bobby Marks of ESPN, Harris will be ranked in the top 10 in salary for shooting guards, joining the company of James Harden of the Houston Rockets, DeMar DeRozan of the Toronto Raptors, CJ McCollum of the Portland Trail Blazers, Bradley Beal of the Washington Wizards, Nic Batum of the Charlotte Hornets, Victor Oladipo of the Indiana Pacers, Jimmy Butler of the Minnesota Timberwolves, Klay Thompson of the Golden State Warriors and Wes Matthew of the Dallas Mavericks.

When Harris’ contract takes effect next season, the Nuggets will have $113 million in guaranteed salary and could become a tax team in 2018-19.

Harris vital cog in Nuggets’ offense

The emergence of Harris as a solid threat on offense will make the Nuggets a dangerous team in the coming season. With the addition of Millsap and the presence of young big man, Nikola Jokic give the Nuggets an effective weapon on offense that can give the opponent a run for their money.

Jokic, Millsap, and Harris will share scoring duties now that last season’s leading scorer Danilo Gallinari recently joined the Los Angeles Clippers via a three-team trade.

Last season, Jokic was second in scoring with an average of 16.7 points and led the team in rebounding with 9.8 caroms per game in 73 outings. Harris, for his part, led the Nuggets in steals with 1.2 per game. Millsap, for his part, averaged 18.1 points and 7.7 rebounds with the Atlanta Hawks last season.