Nuggets coach Michael Malone: “I fully expect DeMarcus Cousins to be back with us at some point”

If there’s one man in DeMarcus Cousins’ corner in Denver, it’s Michael Malone.

The Nuggets head coach offered full support for the veteran center before Tuesday night’s game with the New York Knicks, saying he expects Cousins to be signed back with the team after his 10-day contract expired Sunday.

“Simply stated, DeMarcus has been great for us. I fully expect DeMarcus Cousins to be back with us at some point,” Malone told reporters Tuesday prior to tip-off against the New York Knicks. “He’s got to stop getting techs. That’s an ongoing conversation. But just the basketball aspect of it, he’s been tremendous.”

The Nuggets went 5-0 when Cousins played. He averaged six points on 25% shooting with seven rebounds over 13 minutes per game. The 31-year-old basketball journeyman admitted to discomfort from a right foot sprain over the course of his short contract.

The timeline for his next Nuggets deal is fluid ahead of the NBA trade deadline on Thursday. But Cousins previously said: “I would love to be here. I think it’s a great fit. I think both sides benefit from it.”

A league source told The Denver Post on Monday that the team is likely to sign Cousins to another 10-day deal.

“As an organization, sometimes you have to … give yourself as much flexibility as possible,” Malone said. “With that being said, once again, it is my hope that DeMarcus will be back with this team in the near future.”

No “warm milk” for distracted players. Tuesday night’s home matchup against the Knicks might be the final game for Nuggets potentially on the move before the trade deadline.

Just don’t expect Malone to coddle any players in the meantime.

“Just preparing as usual,” he said. “I think there is this thought out there that each head coach in the NBA is grabbing guys individually and talking about the trade deadline. I can’t speak for 29 other coaches but I’m not doing that. Guys will be spoken to if they need to be spoken to. It’s a part of the business and everybody is going through it. Control what you can control.

“As long as you’re here in Denver, prepare to win. Get your mind right and get your body right. We have a chance to go out here and try to defend our home court.

“I’m not going around having heart-to-hearts and having a pillow and warm milk in our office. This is the NBA, man. It’s a business.”

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