Sources: Caldwell-Pope finalizing deal with Magic

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Free agent Kentavious Caldwell-Pope is leaving the Denver Nuggets and finalizing a three-year, $66 million deal with the Orlando Magic, sources told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski on Sunday.

Caldwell-Pope, 31, had been a lynchpin at both ends for the Nuggets since arriving in Denver two years ago, helping them to the 2022-23 title with his 3-point shooting and ability to guard opposing perimeter stars.

In each of his two seasons in Denver, Caldwell-Pope — a career 36.9% 3-point shooter — has eclipsed 40% from deep while also playing in 76 games both years. As a defender, Caldwell-Pope allowed a league-best 40.6% field goal percentage as the closest defender last season, according to ESPN Stats & Information research, while frequently taking on the toughest assignment.

The Magic exceeded expectations this past season by winning 47 games, a 13-win improvement from 2022-23 and a 25-win jump from the 2021-22 season. They finished fifth in the Eastern Conference but lost to the Cavaliers in a seven-game, opening-round playoff series.

Caldwell-Pope’s shooting should help Orlando make another jump in 2024-25. The Magic ranked 22nd in offensive efficiency and 24th in 3-point shooting this past regular season and were the only playoff team that ranked in the bottom 10 in shooting from 3-point range.

Nuggets general manager Calvin Booth said last week that Denver was prepared in case it lost its key defensive cog.

“If he doesn’t want to come back or opts to go somewhere else, that’s his prerogative,” Booth told reporters. “So we’ll have to work with that. But I think we’re prepared to plug and play, so to speak.”

Christian Braun, entering his third season, seems primed for a bigger role and could perhaps fill Caldwell-Pope’s spot. The Nuggets like Braun’s ability to defend. He averaged 7.3 points and 3.7 rebounds while shooting 38.4% from behind the arc while averaging 20.2 minutes off the bench.

Since being selected eighth overall in the 2013 NBA draft, Caldwell-Pope spent four years each with the Detroit Pistons and Los Angeles Lakers before playing a single season with the Washington Wizards, where he landed after being part of the trade that brought Russell Westbrook to the Lakers.

Caldwell-Pope was then traded to the Nuggets prior to the 2022-23 season, which finished with him claiming the second NBA championship of his 11-year NBA career.

Caldwell-Pope has played 835 games since entering the NBA in 2013-14, most in the NBA during that span.

ESPN’s Tim Bontemps and Ohm Youngmisuk and ESPN Stats & Information contributed to this report.

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