DeMarcus Cousins

Nuggets, DeMarcus Cousins Set To Finalize 10-Day Deal

Nearly two weeks after reports first indicated that the Nuggets were expected to sign DeMarcus Cousins to a 10-day contract, the two sides will finally complete a deal on Friday, says Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter link).

While it took a while for Cousins and the Nuggets to make things official, reports throughout last week confirmed that they still had mutual interest and that a deal would likely get done at some point. When Denver made a two-for-one trade for Bryn Forbes earlier this week, it opened up a spot on the team’s 15-man roster, creating a path for Cousins to join the team without requiring a hardship exception.

Cousins, 31, spent a little over five weeks with the Bucks from late November to early January, averaging 9.1 PPG and 5.8 RPG in 17 games (16.9 MPG) for the defending champs. Milwaukee opted to waive the veteran center before his salary for 2021/22 could become fully guaranteed, making him a free agent. Word of Denver’s interest broke shortly thereafter.

A report around the time of Cousins’ release suggested the Nuggets were in the market for help on the wing and at center. Trading for Forbes gave Denver another option on the wing, and now the team will get a chance to audition Cousins at center for at least 10 days.

As Wojnarowski points out, signing Cousins today will maximize his 10-day stint in Denver, since the club has six games on its schedule between now and January 30. The last of those six games will be in Milwaukee against Cousins’ former team.

Bryn Forbes Traded To Nuggets In Three-Team Deal

JANUARY 19: The trade is official, according to a tweet from the Nuggets. As we relayed earlier today, the 2028 second-round pick acquired by the Spurs is top-33 protected, and San Antonio also received cash from both Boston ($2.15MM) and Denver ($200K).

JANUARY 18: Shooting guard Bryn Forbes is headed from the Spurs to the Nuggets as the headliner of a three-team deal that also involves the Celtics, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

Forbes will once again join a playoff team, while Boston power forward Juancho Hernangomez and Denver’s 2028 second-round pick are heading to San Antonio. Two injured players, Nuggets power forward Bol Bol and guard PJ Dozier, will be sent to the Celtics.

As Woj details, the Nuggets, who at 22-20 are currently the sixth seed in the Western Conference, had been looking to acquire a wing to improve their bench scoring. Forbes, averaging 9.1 PPG on .432/.417/.898 shooting, fits the bill. The Nuggets had been linked to the veteran sharpshooter as a trade target as recently as yesterday.

Denver has been hit hard by injuries this season, so moving a pair of players who are expected to be sidelined for most or all of the season will help improve the team’s depth and will open up a spot on the team’s 15-man roster. A report over a week ago stated that the Nuggets were expected to add free agent center DeMarcus Cousins on a 10-day contract. That deal has yet to materialize, but Mike Singer of the Denver Post tweets that there’s still mutual interest between the two sides.

The Nuggets tried to trade Bol to the Pistons last week, only to see the deal rescinded when he failed his team physical. Bol subsequently went under the knife for a foot surgery this week and is expected to miss at least eight-to-12 weeks of game action. Dozier will be out for the rest of the 2021/22 NBA season as he continues to recover from a surgery of his own to repair a torn ACL.

Wojnarowski reports that, at least at present, the Celtics intend to retain both Dozier and Bol through this season’s trade deadline. Bol could return by March or April and the C’s would have both players’ Bird rights in the offseason — Bol will be eligible for restricted free agency and Dozier will be unrestricted. Those plans could change if Boston needs to open up a roster spot in the coming weeks or months.

Hernangomez failed to crack the 23-22 Celtics’ rotation this season, averaging 1.1 PPG and 1.4 RPG across 5.3 MPG in just 18 contests. As Woj writes, by getting off Hernangomez’s $7MM salary and taking back Bol ($2.2MM) and Dozier ($1.9MM), Boston gets that much closer to ducking the NBA’s punitive luxury tax.

The Celtics won’t need to waive a player to accommodate their one-for-two trade, since they already had an open spot on their 15-man roster.

San Antonio’s decision to acquire a future draft pick and Hernangomez’s pseudo-expiring contract (next season’s salary is non-guaranteed) in exchange for Forbes, a role player on the 2021 championship-winning Bucks, could signal that the team has accepted it should be in asset-accrual mode in the weeks leading up to the league’s trade deadline.

The return for Forbes is modest, but that’s not a major surprise. While he’s a terrific shooter, Forbes is limited on the defensive end and he’ll be an unrestricted free agent at season’s end. He also fell out of Milwaukee’s rotation during the NBA Finals last spring.

Nuggets Notes: Cousins, Jokic, Campazzo, Barton

It has been six days since word broke that the Nuggets intended to sign DeMarcus Cousins to a 10-day contract. Denver has yet to officially move forward with that deal, but according to Mike Singer of The Denver Post (Twitter link), the club still has “significant interest” in adding the veteran center. Head coach Michael Malone discussed the possibility during a radio appearance today without making a commitment one way or the other.

“If (Cousins) becomes a member of this Nugget team at some point, obviously you’d be adding a terrific player,” Malone said (Twitter link via Harrison Wind of DVNR Sports). “I think his short stint in Milwaukee is proof of that. He went to the defending world champions and played lights out.”

For the moment, the Nuggets may not have a clear path to adding Cousins. They don’t have any players in the NBA’s health and safety protocols, so they’re ineligible to sign a player to a 10-day contract using a COVID-related hardship exception. They also don’t have an opening on their 15-man roster.

Denver does qualify for an injury-related hardship exception, since Jamal Murray, Michael Porter, PJ Dozier, and Vlatko Cancar are all sidelined with long-term injuries. But James Ennis is already under contract on a 10-day hardship deal, so the Nuggets likely aren’t eligible to add another player until Ennis’ pact expires next Wednesday night.

As we keep an eye on the Nuggets’ roster situation and monitor their plans for Cousins, here are a few more notes out of Denver:

  • Michael Malone believes Nikola Jokic doesn’t get the credit deserves for his ongoing MVP-caliber play, as Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN details. “I think he is one of the more disrespected reigning MVPs that I can think of in terms of the attention,” Malone said this week, adding that Jokic’s lack of highlight-reel plays may undersell his impact. “… I mean, Nikola Jokic is not sexy. He’s just not. There is nothing about Nikola … his wife might disagree. But if you are a true student of the game, a coach, someone that loves the game being played the right way, then you appreciate him at the level that he should be appreciated at.”
  • Addressing what he called “nonsensical rumors,” Octagon Basketball Europe CEO David Carro Funes, who represents Nuggets guard Facundo Campazzo, said (via Twitter) that his client fully intends to remain in the NBA going forward. Campazzo, who played in Argentina from 2008-14 and Spain from 2014-20, will be a free agent at season’s end. He spoke last month about his commitment to continue playing in the NBA beyond his current contract.
  • Will Barton sustained a scary-looking injury on Thursday when he lost his footing on a drive and banged his head against Jusuf Nurkic‘s knee. Barton remained on the floor for several minutes, but eventually walked to the locker room under his own power and later returned to the bench. He should be OK going forward, writes Kyle Fredrickson of The Denver Post.

Nuggets Expected To Sign DeMarcus Cousins To 10-Day Contract

JANUARY 9: The Nuggets will meet with Cousins on Sunday and if that meeting goes well, the plan is to sign him to a 10-day contract, tweets Mike Singer of The Denver Post. Singer adds that a deal may not be officially finalized until mid-week.

JANUARY 8: After being waived Thursday by the Bucks, DeMarcus Cousins will sign a 10-day deal with the Nuggets, tweets Shams Charania of The Athletic. Cousins will reunite with Michael Malone, who was formerly his head coach in Sacramento, Charania notes (Twitter link).

Cousins will leave his offseason home in Las Vegas on Sunday and head to Denver for a physical and other tests, a source tells Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated (Twitter link). The Nuggets play on Sunday night in Oklahoma City and then on Tuesday in Los Angeles against the Clippers.

The Mavericks also had interest in signing Cousins, Spears’ source says (Twitter link).

Denver is eligible to add a player to a standard 10-day contract using a non-COVID hardship exception because the team has five players sidelined with long-term injuries, tweets Bobby Marks of ESPN. Vlatko Cancar suffered a fractured right foot this week, joining injured teammates Jamal MurrayMichael Porter Jr.PJ Dozier and Markus Howard.

Cousins was impressive during his stay in Milwaukee, averaging 9.1 points and 5.8 rebounds in 17 games and making five starts. However, the Bucks decided to release him, opting for the flexibility of an open roster spot heading into the trade deadline. GM Jon Horst hinted that the team might be interested in bringing him back, but it may not be possible if he is successful in Denver.

We heard earlier this week that the Nuggets were perusing the trade market for a backup center. That search may continue, but Cousins should slide into that role for the time being.

Warriors Notes: Thompson, Kuminga, Moody, Wiseman, Cousins

The long process of rehabbing two serious injuries will finally end Sunday for Klay Thompson, and the Warriors guard is determined to prove that he’s as good as ever, writes Nick Friedell of ESPN. Thompson bought a boat and focused on helping his younger teammates during his extended break, but nothing took his mind off his desire to start playing again. He’s “hungrier” than ever to help Golden State make an impact in the playoffs after missing the last two postseasons.

“I know myself. I know how good I am,” Thompson said. “I know the things I’ve done. … It’s like — how many times do I have to do something that no one else has ever done before and get respect? Do I have to go score 50 in a quarter now? Like, what the hell? It’s whatever though, man. It’s over with. I’m going to use it as fuel.”

Thompson’s return to the court will be a monumental event for the franchise, coach Steve Kerr said at a press conference today, per Mark Medina of Kerr compared it to Michael Jordan‘s return to basketball in 1995 and expects it to be “one of the most emotional games that any of us would ever be a part of.”

“I have no doubt when Klay walks onto the floor for the first time, I will never forget that game,” Kerr said. “It will stand out as one of the highlights of my entire basketball existence just because of who Klay is and how much he has meant to our franchise and to the Bay area and to me personally and to his teammates. He’s everybody’s favorite guy and we’ve all seen him suffer for two-and-a-half years. It’ll be very emotional.”

There’s more on the Warriors:

  • Golden State got a look at its future in Thursday’s game at New Orleans as injuries resulted in extended playing time for rookies Jonathan Kuminga and Moses Moody, notes Connor Letourneau of The San Francisco Chronicle. “I think they’re right on schedule,” Kerr said. “I think they’re both really working hard every single day, putting the work in, learning what it’s about to be an NBA player. … It’s not easy, especially for 19-year-old kids. They’re learning, and they’re doing a great job.”
  • James Wiseman, who hasn’t played since having knee surgery last season, continues to make progress, tweets Anthony Slater of The Athletic. Kerr is hoping that during the next road trip, Wiseman can participate in 3-on-3 games or 1-on-1 drills against another center.
  • Kerr sidestepped a question today about possibly bringing back DeMarcus Cousins, who was waived Thursday by the Bucks, according to Monte Poole of NBC Sports Bay Area (Twitter link). Cousins played for Golden State in 2018/19.

Bucks Waive DeMarcus Cousins

JANUARY 6: The Bucks have officially requested waivers on Cousins, Jim Owczarski of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel tweets.

JANUARY 5: On the night he scored 15 points, pulled down 10 boards, and chipped in three steals and a block across just 20 minutes for the Bucks, center DeMarcus Cousins, signed to a non-guaranteed deal, is set to be waived by Milwaukee, per Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link).

The news comes two days ahead of the deadline for all contracts to be guaranteed for the rest of the year across the NBA. Cousins’ salary for 2021/22 isn’t fully guaranteed.

Across 17 contests with the Bucks, the former four-time All-Star is averaging 9.1 PPG and 5.8 RPG this season. Charania adds that Cousins will likely merit a look from other clubs.

The 6’10” veteran joined the Bucks a month into the season. He spent the 2020/21 NBA season with the Rockets and Clippers. The 31-year-old has never been the same since suffering Achilles and ACL tears, but has proven himself to be a volume bench contributor when healthy in recent seasons.

Shooting guard Wesley Matthews, the team’s other player signed to a non-guaranteed deal, remains with the team as of this writing. With Cousins slated to be waived, the Bucks will create one open roster spot.

Milwaukee GM Jon Horst commented on the decision to move on from Cousins, per Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter link): “We wouldn’t have been able to get through this difficult stretch of the season as successfully as we did without DeMarcus.”

In further comments reported by Woj (via Twitter), Horst hinted at a potential reunion following the trade deadline, should Cousins be available: “We made a strategic decision to have an open roster spot, but there’s nothing that would prevent us from partnering with DeMarcus again down the road.”

Eastern Notes: Barrett, Cousins, Fall, Wizards

RJ Barrett has exited the NBA’s health and safety protocols, the Knicks announced today (via Twitter). The news comes on the heels of Obi Toppin clearing the protocols on Wednesday night, a sign that the team is hopefully getting through the worst of its COVID-19 outbreak.

Assuming Barrett and Toppin pass the necessary cardiac tests, they could be back in the lineup as soon as tonight vs. Washington or Saturday vs. Atlanta. Five Knicks remain in the protocols for the time being, as our tracker shows.

Here’s more from around the Eastern Conference:

  • Earlier this week, Bucks center DeMarcus Cousins admitted he was still struggling to find his rhythm while getting “limited practice time (and) limited preparation” between games, as Jim Owczarski of The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel writes. Cousins, who signed with Milwaukee last month, logged a season-high 28 minutes on Wednesday and had his best game of the year, putting up 18 points and eight assists in a win over Houston.
  • Like Cousins in Milwaukee, Cavaliers center Tacko Fall has taken on a larger role this week due to various absences. Kelsey Russo of The Athletic takes a look at the unusual journey Fall took leading up to his first NBA start on Wednesday. Playing in Boston, where he began his NBA career, the 7’5″ center had four points and 10 rebounds in 19 minutes.
  • Trade talks across the NBA have been put on the back burner for now as teams focus on dealing with COVID-19 outbreaks and signing replacement players. However, those discussions figure to heat up in the coming weeks, prompting Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington to take an early look at potential trade deadline priorities for the Wizards. The team could use more shooting, more size, and a speedy point guard, says Hughes.

Bucks Notes: Tucker, Lopez, Cousins

P.J. Tucker didn’t spend much time in Milwaukee, but he became a fan favorite while helping the Bucks capture their first NBA title in 50 years, writes Jim Owczarski of The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. Acquired at the trade deadline, Tucker played a vital role on defense during the team’s playoff run. Even though he signed with the Heat during the offseason, Tucker can expect an enthusiastic reception when he returns to the city Saturday night.

“I’ll always love Milwaukee,” he said. “I’ll love the people of Milwaukee forever. They embraced me so much from day one when I first got there to the day I left; they were always there, they always had my back. That’s not something you get right away. You don’t normally get the trust and the love of the city so fast. It was an amazing experience and journey.”

There’s more Bucks news to pass along:

  • The organization is optimistic that Brook Lopez will be able to return sometime this season after undergoing back surgery Thursday, a source tells Eric Nehm of The Athletic. Coach Mike Budenholzer declined to speculate about a possible timeline, but said Lopez will start rehab soon and remains in the team’s plans for later in the season. “The feedback, the conversations, the follow-up after this morning was very, very positive, including expecting him to be able to play and be productive,” Budenholzer said on Thursday. “I think the surgery today has been done on multiple basketball players, multiple athletes, multiple sports. Return to play is very, very often successful.”
  • Veteran center DeMarcus Cousins, who was signed to help fill the void left by Lopez, had a strong debut with seven points and four rebounds in 15 minutes in Wednesday’s win over the Hornets, Nehm adds. Because Thursday’s game was a back-to-back, Cousins was held out for “return to competition reconditioning.” “The guy has been dominant for so many years,” Khris Middleton said. “He’s been on a bad path with the injuries so far, but I’m glad to see him back on the court healthy. I’m definitely excited and I know the rest of the guys are excited to have him on the court with us.”
  • Cousins is grateful to the Bucks for giving him an opportunity after being out of the league since the end of last season. “It’s always a great feeling to be wanted or appreciated, so when my name is called, I’ll be ready to play,” he said in an interview with Zora Stephenson of NBC Sports (Twitter link).

DeMarcus Cousins Signs Non-Guaranteed Deal With Bucks

November 30: The Bucks have officially signed Cousins, the team announced.

November 28: Former All-Star DeMarcus Cousins is signing a non-guaranteed deal with the Bucks, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link).

Cousins, 31, split time with the Rockets and Clippers last season, averaging a combined 8.9 PPG, 6.4 RPG, and 1.9 APG in just 17.4 MPG across 41 games (11 starts).

“Boogie” is a four-time All-Star and two-time All-NBA member. He spent his prime seasons with the Kings and Pelicans before suffering a series of devastating leg injuries — first a torn Achilles tendon with the Pelicans, then a torn quad with the Warriors, and finally a torn ACL that sidelined him for the entire 2019/20 season.

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN notes (via Twitter) that Cousins stayed in shape while awaiting an opportunity, and the Bucks were one of a handful of teams to have an open roster spot.

The Bucks have dealt with a series of injuries to open their title defense. Center Brook Lopez (lower back) has played just one game for the team, while Jrue Holiday, Khris Middleton, and Bobby Portis all missed significant time. Donte DiVincenzo has yet to suit up this season after undergoing left ankle surgery in June.

Cousins could see action immediately with the frontcourt depth thin at the moment. He was productive in limited minutes last season and Milwaukee could use his size and toughness off the bench. The Bucks have won six games in a row and sit with a 12-8 record after 20 games.

Central Notes: Cousins, Vucevic, Holiday, Duarte, Hayes

DeMarcus Cousins won’t be asked to play major minutes for the Bucks, according to Eric Nehm of The Athletic. The veteran center can give them 10-15 minutes a game and help lessen the load on Giannis Antetokounmpo and Bobby Portis, who have been manning the middle while Brook Lopez has been sidelined with a back injury. Cousins agreed on Sunday to sign a non-guaranteed deal.

Cousins took part in a workout led by assistant coach Darvin Ham on Saturday in Las Vegas, Marc Spears of ESPN’s The Undefeated tweets. Bucks assistant GM Milt Newton and VP of Global Scouting Ryan Hoover attended the workout, and Cousins had a phone conversation with coach Mike Budenholzer afterward.

We have more info on the Central Division:

  • Nikola Vucevic hasn’t looked right since returning from a bout with COVID-19, Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times opines. In his third game back on Saturday, the Bulls big man took only nine shots, scored seven points and committed three turnovers. The Heat paid special attention to him defensively. “I do think he’s getting his footing back under him,” coach Billy Donovan said. Vucevic’s 13.4 PPG are his lowest since his first season with the Magic in 2012/13, Cowley notes.
  • Justin Holiday has been giving advice to Pacers rookie Chris Duarte about his new bench role, Brendan Rourke of the team’s website writes. “When you’re young, you focus a lot on being the starter and doing stuff like that,” Holiday said. “I’m just trying to give him a different sight of how he can still help. He’s still just as valuable even though he doesn’t have that starting role.” Holiday has been inserted into the starting lineup in place of Duarte.
  • A four-game layoff to rest a sprained left thumb helped Pistons second-year guard Killian Hayes, Omari Sankofa II of the Detroit Free Press writes. ‘”It was good for him to take it off, he’s feeling much better now,” coach Dwane Casey said of Hayes, who had six points and eight assists in 29 minutes against the Lakers on Sunday. “We’ll see if he can jumpstart it to do it again. He was playing pretty good, especially defensively.”