DeAndre Jordan heard the recruiting pitch from Jeff Green. He spoke, at length, with Nuggets coach Michael Malone. He saw how formidable Denver could become when healthy, and he wanted a piece of it.
Shortly after free agency started, the Nuggets and Jordan agreed on a one-year deal for a veteran’s minimum salary, league sources said. Entering his 15th season in the NBA, Jordan is under no illusions about his role with the team. According to Jordan, Malone was honest and direct with him during several conversations.
“Well, he told me that I’m gonna come in and start over Nikola (Jokic),” Jordan deadpanned during a phone conversation with The Denver Post.
DeAndre Jordan may be closer to “washed”, but one’s thing for sure is that he’s a funny man. I personally always remember from last season: Frank Vogel: “Wayne, come in for DJ.” DeAndre Jordan: “Shooter for shooter, I feel that.”
Here’s the rest of the article about his actual role with the team:
“Obviously everybody knows that Nikola is the head of the snake, so with that, my role being obviously coming off the bench, helping our second unit with pace, screens and getting guys open, getting guys better shots and also finishing everything that I can in transition, offensive rebounds, controlling the glass for our unit, also being a defensive presence for however long I’m out there.”
Does that mean he’s comfortable not playing every night if that’s what Malone decides?
His diplomatic answer — “That’s something we’ll get to when it comes to personnel” — revealed a veteran aware of his place.
The Nuggets view him, even at 34, as a rim-roller, screen-setter and defensive obstacle. Malone, in particular, values his vast experience and his voice.
No, the Nuggets aren’t trying to recreate the 2020-21 Brooklyn Nets, which featured Jordan, Green and versatile guard Bruce Brown. But the familiarity for Jordan helps. As the Nuggets empower him to speak up, it should help that he’ll already have a few established relationships inside the organization.
“Nah, we want to be the 2022-23 Nuggets,” he quipped.
Jordan replaces DeMarcus Cousins, who was a productive yet mercurial presence last season. In Jordan, the Nuggets hope they’ve finally landed on a center who can halt the revolving door of backup options the last few seasons.
“I’m going into my 15th year, man, I was a second-round pick, I’ve done a lot of great things in this league, individually and also with the teams that I’ve been on,” Jordan said. “I don’t put that pressure on myself to have to prove anything. I know the type of player that I am. I know the respect that I have from myself, and also that my peers have for me … (Winning a title) is the only thing that still drives me at this point in my career.”