The Denver Nuggets have added veteran Richard Jefferson, signing him to a one-year deal worth $2.3 million. According to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, the Nuggets are expected to cut point guard Jameer Nelson to create roster room for the 37-year-old Jefferson. Jefferson played the last two seasons with the Cleveland Cavaliers, who traded him to the Atlanta Hawks on October 13 to bring their roster to 15 days before the regular season begins. Jefferson became dispensable when the Cavaliers signed Dwyane Wade, who became available after he got a $23.8 million buyout from the Chicago Bulls. Jefferson was already aware of his fate even before the Cavaliers made the move, saying in his Road Trippin' podcast with Channing Frye that “I'm sacrificing my way out of here.” After acquiring Jefferson and Kay Felder from the Cavaliers, the Hawks immediately waived them.

Earlier, Jefferson was expected to sign with the Milwaukee Bucks after Wojnarowski reported that the two sides have a mutual interest in working out a contract. The Bucks have one roster spot open after they waived veteran Gerald Green. However, the Bucks opted to claim DeAndre Liggins off waivers after he was cut by the Miami Heat.

Jefferson to provide leadership for Nuggets

A 16-year NBA veteran, Jefferson’s arrival will give the Nuggets a needed veteran presence on the court and in the locker room, guiding young players such as Nikola Jokic and Gary Harris, who recently signed a four-year contract extension worth $84 million. Jefferson will be reunited with Nuggets head coach Michael Malone, an assistant coach during Jefferson’s stint with the Golden State Warriors from 2011 to 2013.

According to Wojnarowski, Jefferson is also a good friend of Nuggets president and governor Josh Kroenke, who sees him as a valuable piece as they try to contend in the tough Western Conference. The Nuggets missed the playoff last season after finishing with a 40-42 record but they are expected to contend this season with the signing of Paul Millsap to a three-year, $90 million deal.

Jefferson a dependable veteran

A 16th overall pick by the Houston Rockets in 2001, Jefferson shipped to the then-New Jersey Nets, where he emerged as starter for seven seasons and a key member of their Eastern Conference championship teams in 2002 and 2003. Jefferson also suited up for the Milwaukee Bucks, San Antonio Spurs, Warriors, Utah Jazz, Dallas Mavericks and the Cavaliers. Last season with the Cavaliers, he averaged 5.7 points and 2.6 boards in 79 games.