Denver Nuggets: Why hasn’t DeMarcus Cousins signed somewhere?

Denver Nuggets center DeMarcus Cousins (4) during the second quarter against the Golden State Warriors at Ball Arena on 7 Mar. 2022. (Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports)
Denver Nuggets center DeMarcus Cousins (4) during the second quarter against the Golden State Warriors at Ball Arena on 7 Mar. 2022. (Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports) /

DeMarcus Cousins proved that he’s a solid backup big man when he joined the Denver Nuggets midway through the 2021-22 season. After showing what he can do, why hasn’t the former All-Star signed with a team yet?

When wearing a Nuggets uniform, Boogie averaged 8.9 points, 5.5 rebounds, and 1.7 assists in 13.9 minutes off the bench. His production was down from his past stops but his veteran presence under the rim gave Michael Malone a sturdy option for the short spurts that Nikola Jokic sat.

When free agency opened, Calvin Booth prioritized wing defense, signing Bruce Brown for a portion of the mid-level exception and traded for Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. Wing depth and shooting were significant concerns for the Nuggets in past seasons and these moves hit the nail on the head.

By prioritizing the wing, the Nuggets still needed someone to back up Jokic. Booth decided early that DeAndre Jordan was going to be the solution at this spot.

Related Story. Why go after DeAndre Jordan?. light

DJ only signed a minimum deal but looking at the rest of the veteran center market, everyone in Jordan and Boogie’s market is signing for veteran minimums, so why didn’t Booth bring back DeMarcus Cousins?

Boogie could be waiting for some of the bigger dominoes to fall. At the moment, Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving have both requested trades from the Brooklyn Nets. It might take a while, but it’s looking like they’ll both be in new situations by opening night.

Whichever team signs KD will be a title contender the second it happens, potentially even a title favorite. As one of the more serviceable backup big men on the market, Cousins might be waiting until the dust has settled before choosing his destination.

The Denver Nuggets will be in the title conversation for the next few seasons, especially with Jokic, Michael Porter Jr., and Jamal Murray locked up on long-term deals. However, with the injury concerns and some wondering how they’ll look on their return, it might take a while until they’re at full strength.

After losing Isaiah Hartenstein to the New York Knicks in free agency, the LA Clippers could be in the market for a traditional backup big man like Cousins. At the moment, the Clippers have Ivica Zubac and the small ball tandem of Nic Batum and Robert Covington at the center spot.

The Golden State Warriors still have roster spots to fill and assuming they aren’t filled with some of their draft selections, Boogie could be the third big behind Kevon Looney and James Wiseman. DeMarcus was seen working out with former teammate Draymond Green the other day:

The Phoenix Suns will always be an option as long as the Deandre Ayton question mark looms over the franchise. If they’re able to work out a sign-and-trade for a starting big like Myles Turner, there won’t be an issue.

If Ayton walks in free agency, they’re entering the season with Bismack Biyombo and Jock Landale at the five. DeMarcus would likely split the big man minutes with Biyombo there.

The runners-up this past season, the Boston Celtics, could be in the market for a third-string big man to replace Daniel Theis after he was traded to the Indiana Pacers. The Celtics might be starting Al Horford and Rob Williams in the regular season but the latter is a major injury question mark.

There are several teams out there still in need of a backup center so it’s puzzling as to why Cousins remains unsigned. If he joins a title contender based on where KD lands, then it’ll all make sense. If he joins another team in the title mix, it’d be a missed opportunity that the Nuggets didn’t re-sign him themselves.

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