Nuggets first free agent agreement a bad sign for the offseason in Denver

Sacramento Kings v Denver Nuggets
Sacramento Kings v Denver Nuggets / Brendall O'Banon/Clarkson Creative/GettyImages

The Nuggets signed their first free agent of the offseason on Saturday night, agreeing to bring back DeAndre Jordan on a one-year veteran minimum contract worth $3.6 million. The Nuggets were allowed to come to terms ahead of the start of free agency since Jordan was Denver’s own free agent, his contract expiring at the end of the season.

On the surface, this deal isn’t much of a needle-mover, but it’s a concerning sign from the Nuggets’ front office. Jordan is already 35 years old and to say the best years of his career are behind him would be a drastic understatement.

DeAndre Jordan is no longer playable in the NBA

He played sparingly last season, but it was painfully clear that he’s no longer a rotation-caliber player in the NBA. He was called in for mop-up duty on a few occasions and had a moment or two during the regular season, but he was never even considered to be part of Michael Malone’s playoff rotation - even as frontcourt depth was desperately needed.

By all accounts, Jordan is an excellent teammate and veteran leader. He’s a good guy to have on the bench and a really good presence and role model for all the young players on the team. It’s easy to imagine him taking new rookie big man DaRon Holmes II under his wing.

But that’s the issue here; Jordan is essentially an assistant coach at this point in his career. And while he seems to be good in the role, he’s not worthy of a roster spot and a precious minimum contract that counts against the salary cap.

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The Nuggets are in a world of hurt for spending and depth. They need to make every single signing count and they need to get players who can impact the game off the bench. Jordan does none of those things and his best contributions are the good vibes he brings.

I love DeAndre but this is a waste of a roster spot, plain and simple. It’s a signal that the Nuggets are not prepared to spend during free agency and they clearly aren’t optimistic about being able to bring in ring-chasing veterans. 

The team has now given up three second-round picks just to dump Reggie Jackson’s contract and re-signed DeAndre Jordan. Meanwhile, the Nuggets are on the verge of losing Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and having no means to replace him. Hopefully, Calvin Booth and company can pull a rabbit out of the hat, but so far this has been an ugly start to the offseason.