Kentavious Caldwell-Pope excited to ‘compete again’ after being traded to Denver

·2 min read

Caldwell-Pope excited to ‘compete again’ after being traded to Denver originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope was a crucial member of the Wizards’ rotation last season. So much so, in fact, that he put up his highest point, assist, and rebound averages since the 2017-18 campaign.

His time in Washington was cut short when the shooting guard was traded along with Ish Smith to the Denver Nuggets in a package that sent Monte Morris and Will Barton to the nation’s capital. Denver has been a perennial deep playoff contender for several seasons now, with two-time MVP Nikola Jokic leading the charge.

It’s a welcome change of scenery for Caldwell-Pope, as the Nuggets are in the realm of real championship contention that the Wizards are still likely a few years away from. He noted his pleasure at the trade shortly after the deal was made official.

“I’m excited just to be able to compete again and compete for a championship,” Caldwell-Pope said via the Denver Post.

The Nuggets immediately showed faith that KCP can contribute early and often to their championship hopes, as they inked him to a two-year, $30 million extension late on Wednesday. KCP will join Michael Porter Jr., Aaron Gordon, Jamal Murray and others as the core of Denver’s rotation.

Even though Caldwell-Pope, who is just two seasons removed from winning the 2020 title with the Lakers alongside Kyle Kuzma, appears happy with his new digs, he thought was going to stay in Washington. The trade took him by surprise.

“My initial reaction was surprise because what me and my team and the Washington Wizards was talking about and communicating was different,” he said. “It was a surprise.”

KCP has never been one to mince words. After a 15-point loss to Phoenix in February, he called out a breakdown of defensive communication and a lack of leadership among the Wizards’ roster. “A lot slips with communication, I don’t know what it is…I don’t think that we have that on this team, someone that can do that,” he said.

A month later, he skewered the Wizards’ confusion on the offensive side of the ball, saying, “I feel like possession after possession we're lost. Or like, we don't know what's going on. Or half of the players don't know the play call. Or somebody's running something, and somebody else is running the other.”

Either way, Caldwell-Pope’s Wizards days are now in the rear-view mirror. He embarks on a new journey with a real contender in the West and thinks his attitude towards the game will be one thing that ingratiates him to his new surroundings.

“I’m a people person. I think I’m a nice person to talk to,” he said.