At the start of the 2021-22 season, the Denver Nuggets had a backup big man issue. Michael Malone needed a sturdy choice behind Nikola Jokic and after being released by the Milwaukee Bucks, DeMarcus Cousins solved that issue. But entering free agency, should they re-sign him?
After signing him to multiple 10-day contracts, Cousins came in and gave them solid minutes off of the bench and has since become one of the best backup centers Denver has had in a long time.
Following the 10-day deals, the Denver Nuggets created a roster spot for him and signed him for the remainder of the season. He showed that the deal was worthwhile and shortly after scored 31 points against the Houston Rockets.
While Boogie may not be the superstar center that he was a few years ago, he is still a really good player and could give a team valuable minutes off the bench. There are some nights when he is best player in the second unit, and some nights he could be one of the best players on the team.
When the team needs someone to come in and give them offense, Cousins is probably the best player off the bench to help them out.
Additionally, his rim protection was essential to this team making a playoff push. When Jokic rested, Cousins was able to slide right in and give Denver above-average paint defending. When DeMarcus Cousins was on the court, opponents shot 4.5 percent worse at the rim according to Cleaning the Glass.
Now that his contract has expired, teams that are lacking a backup big will be offering him a contract to try and shore up that weakness. He has been toiling away on minimum contracts for the past couple of seasons after major injuries so it’ll be interesting to see if anyone will offer him more than that.
Assuming he’s only being offered minimum deals, Denver could have the most enticing role. He was a bright spot for a team that had to deal with two major injuries and played a part in winning basketball.
In Denver, he gets to play for a coach he has tremendous respect for in Michael Malone.
Since joining the Golden State Warriors on a one-year deal, Cousins has appeared for a new team every season and hasn’t been able to find some consistency in his career.
From the Nuggets’ point of view, there will be interesting options in free agency and the draft that they could target. Will Calvin Booth see an outside option as an update over DeMarcus Cousins? Given the consistency he brought since joining the team, they might be better off with the proven commodity over the potential.