JULY 16: Caldwell-Pope’s extension is now official, per NBA.com’s transactions log.
As ESPN’s Bobby Marks tweets, Caldwell-Pope was eligible for an extension despite recently being traded to Denver as long as the total length of the new contract did not exceed two years and the salary increase did not exceed 5%. He was on an expiring deal worth $14MM in 2022/23, so the extension will keep him under contract for at least one more season.
Caldwell-Pope and Ish Smith were sent to the Nuggets from the Wizards in exchange for Monte Morris and Will Barton. Mike Singer of The Denver Post reported at the time of the deal that Denver had been targeting Caldwell-Pope for some time and had interest in retaining him beyond next season, which is now coming to fruition.
Singer notes (via Twitter) that the Nuggets had no intention of trading away two starters from last season unless the team was confident it could sign Caldwell-Pope to an extension.
Caldwell-Pope, known colloquially as KCP, had a solid first season with Washington in ’21/22, averaging 13.2 PPG, 3.4 RPG, 1.9 APG and 1.1 SPG on .435/.390/.890 shooting. The Nuggets reportedly value his championship experience and solid defense.
The 29-year-old shooting guard was the Lakers’ third-best player when they won the title in 2020 and has become a much more reliable outside shooter in recent years. At 6’5″, he’s capable of defending both guard positions and is also an active off-ball cutter, which should pair well with the incredible vision and passing of Nikola Jokic.
KCP’s skill set is always in-demand in the NBA because he doesn’t need the ball to be effective on offense and is a pretty good defender. The Nuggets, in particular, are always looking for role players in that mold to complement their stars, but he’d be a decent fit on most teams.
The Nuggets now project to have their entire starting lineup under contract through at least ’23/24. With the impending returns of Michael Porter Jr. and Jamal Murray, plus the back-to-back MVP in Jokic, Denver has championship aspirations for the upcoming season.