Denver Nuggets starting shooting guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope is expected to have plenty of suitors in free agency.

Caldwell-Pope is expected to decline his player option and explore the market. The rumor mill is beginning to pick up, and on top of various things I’ve heard over the last few weeks, word has made its way to Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports that Caldwell-Pope will be pursued by other teams.

Here’s one paragraph from Fischer’s latest notebook of free agency information focused on the Orlando Magic:

With that said, let’s say the Magic prove to be open to something similar to Bruce Brown’s contract last summer, when the Pacers inked the former Nuggets swingman to a two-year, $45 million deal, the second season being a team option. That number would be below what Thompson declined from Golden State prior to the 2023-24 campaign, sources said, and would not come close to the four years and $78 million Sacramento plans to give Monk. Thompson is also believed by league sources to want a deal of at least three seasons. Therefore, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope would seem, at present, to be the veteran in line to benefit from the Magic’s cap space. Caldwell-Pope is also believed to have a potential home in Chicago, should the Bulls ultimately lose out on Williams, in addition to Philadelphia viewing the veteran wing as a backup option.

The key stretch in there, of course, pertains to Caldwell-Pope being considered an option for three teams: the Magic, Chicago Bulls, and Philadelphia 76ers.

The Magic have been desperate to improve in their backcourt for the last calendar year, and after Jalen Suggs solidified himself as a guard the team can trust, they’re interested in adding a shooting guard next to him rather than a point guard. Malik Monk was expected to be a name of interest, but with Monk reportedly returning to the Sacramento Kings, the Magic have turned to short term options like Klay Thompson and Caldwell-Pope.

If it’s not the Magic that snag Caldwell-Pope though, it might be the Bulls or the Sixers.

Chicago is in flux with DeMar DeRozan expected to explore free agency. With Zach LaVine also a candidate to be traded, the Bulls appear ready to re-center a rebuild of sorts around Josh Giddey and Coby White after trading Alex Caruso for him yesterday. Does Caldwell-Pope fit into that mix? I’m not sure, nor am I sure how the Bulls free up cap space to sign Caldwell-Pope anyway. Still, I wouldn’t count Chicago out by any stretch.

With the Sixers, the cap space is clearly available. As Fischer mentions in his notebook, Caldwell-Pope is considered a backup option behind some “third star” types. The Sixers are reportedly souring on Paul George, but OG Anunoby could still be available, as could Brandon Ingram of the New Orleans Pelicans, Jimmy Butler of the Miami Heat, or Zach LaVine of the aforementioned Bulls.

I’ve also heard that Caldwell-Pope will be pursued by the Sixers, who understand that his level of impact could assist Joel Embiid and Tyrese Maxey much in the same way he assisted Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray. If those other options fall through for Philly, expect them to throw $20+ million in first year salary at Caldwell-Pope on a short term deal.

There may be other teams that present themselves as suitors for Caldwell-Pope as well. He has championship experience and a plug-and-play skill set that would fit with every contender. Any team could talk themselves into him. Much of it depends on the money and situation.

So, the Nuggets will have competition for Caldwell-Pope’s services. Whether they can retain him or not isn’t a question. Whether the Nuggets get outbid for his services due to wariness of the second tax apron is another entirely, one I’ve gone into detail about here.

Time will tell whether Caldwell-Pope is back in a Nuggets uniform or not.