Michael Malone, DeMarcus Cousins

Sacramento Kings head coach Michael Malone, center, congratulates Kings center DeMarcus Cousins, right, as he walks of the court during a timeout against the Portland Trail Blazers during the fourth quarter of an NBA basketball game in Sacramento, Calif. Friday, Oct. 31, 2014. The Kings won 103-94.(AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)

If all goes to plan, Nikola Jokic appears to have a new, temporary back up at center, and it's a player familiar to Nuggets coach Michael Malone.

The Athletic first reported Saturday night that the Nuggets plan to reunite DeMarcus Cousins, a veteran center, with coach Michael Malone on a 10-day contract. The Undefeated added Tim Connelly, Denver's president of basketball operations, will meet with Cousins before a contract is offered. Malone addressed the reports Sunday but said nothing is official, yet.

"Nothing is done, but I will say this – I have a tremendous amount of respect for who DeMarcus is not only as a player but also as a man," Malone said.

Cousins was drafted by the Sacramento Kings in 2010 and was a key piece of the franchise when Malone got his first head-coaching gig. The 6-foot-10 center who spent a year at Kentucky averaged 22.7 points and 11.7 rebounds in his only full season with Malone as head coach. Cousins had his highest-scoring season in 2016-17, posting 27.8 points per game. His numbers started to dip after a stop in New Orleans, where he ruptured his left Achilles. A torn anterior cruciate ligament suffered during his time with the Lakers further complicated his career.

In the last two seasons, Cousins has had stints with the Rockets, Clippers and Bucks. In 17 games with Milwaukee this season, Cousins put up 9.1 points and 5.8 rebounds in nearly 17 minutes per game.

"You look at the numbers he put up while in Milwaukee, I thought he had a phenomenal impact in a short amount of time in a Milwaukee Bucks uniform," Malone said. "If something were to happen where he did wind up in Denver, you’re looking a guy that was an All-Star, is one of the more skilled bigs in the NBA and who is also unselfish and has the ability to make his teammates better."

The Nuggets are back in action Sunday in Oklahoma City. Cousins would need to sign an official contract and pass COVID-19 protocols before potentially making his first appearance in a Nuggets uniform.

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