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Stiff list: DeMarcus Cousins, Carmelo Anthony & James Harden

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Our old buddy is back in town

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NBA: New York Knicks at Sacramento Kings Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports

DeMarcus Cousins

For all of his talent, Cousins just can’t seem to help from making a boneheaded decisions every once and a while. This week he berated a reporter in the locker room (something that Cousins hasn’t shyed away from in the past) that in many ways can be contrued as threatening, controlling the media and creating a hostile work environment. Now look, getting into the backstory on this one you can see why Cousins might be upset. The reporter he lashed out at had mentioned a previous incident with Cousins and his brother in Florida and Cousins took offense to his brother being dragged into a column that really was about Matt Barnes and Cousins and an altercation in New York. Whether he’s right or wrong about his brother’s legal past being brought up in a story, what’s not excusable is the manner in which Cousins dealt with the issue. As the video below shows, Cousins’ behavior was threatening and that of a bully, and its not the first time he’s done something like this. Consider myself one reporter who has no desire for the Denver Nuggets to make any trade for Cousins, no one should have to deal with behavior like that at work.

Carmelo Anthony

Melo is an honorary lifetime inductee to the stiff list. Our own Jeff Morton covered just how his exit from Denver nearly six years ago has had a lasting effect on the fan base and with the former face of the franchise in town tonight with the New York Knicks, it is fitting that he find his way on the stiff list this week. For me, much of the Melo hate is gone. I understand the business decision he made, and once he made it he at least didn’t spill the beans on his plans so that the Nuggets could let the then New Jersey Nets believe they actually had a shot at landing the superstar. Without that key component, the Nuggets get nowhere near the return they actually did for Melo. Still, at the end of the day he decided he wanted the money and flash of New York over Denver and therefore he will get his rightful place on the stiff list this week and a less than hearty welcome at the Pepsi Center tonight.

Cancer

It seems like this topic also finds its way onto the stiff list once a year as well. Unfortunately, this time cancer makes its annual appearance after the loss of one of the greatest NBA commentators to ever live in Craig Sager. Sager passed away on Thursday after a long battle with leukemia. Sager spent over 40 years in the media business and is best remembered for the colorful suits he wore while covering the NBA sidelines for Turner sports. His iconic look was supplemented by excellent reporting, including being one of the few, perhaps the only, reporters to earn not only the respect, but the endearment of the notoriously grumpy with reporters Gregg Popovich. If you wish to show your support to Craig and towards his cause for funding cancer research and education, I suggest purchasing a SagerStrong shirt, which not only goes towards a good cause but will have you looking as fly as Craig himself.

James Harden

Harden was a trendy pick for the MVP award prior to the beginning of the season and this was mainly because Harden was going to take the lion’s share of ball handling responsibilities in new head coach Mike D’Antoni’s offense, which worked out pretty well for guy named Steve Nash in the past. By all accounts, it’s been a pretty successful go so far this season with Harden as a distributor, but every now and again you get reminded that he’s not a true point guard. This was the case last Friday when apparently Harden thought Ryan Andersen was going to pop on the screen when he in fact rolled. The result was pretty embarrassing.

clip via 3ball.io

Jarnell Stokes

We’re a little late getting to this but Stokes has yet to be given his proper stiff induction. While we do this list often to point out someone like Cousins who is acting completely out of line, we also use it as a way to memorialize someone like Sager or also to thank a hard working player for their service to the team. The name Denver Stiffs harks back to the days of coach Doug Moe who used the stiff term as a way to describe a player who was limited talent wise but nonetheless contributed through sheer effort and work ethic. This defines Stokes to a T. At 6’9 he was physically limited to play the center role, even if it was the emergency center role, which is where he slotted in on the Nuggets roster. This didn’t stop him from giving 100% effort any time he was on the floor in a Denver jersey however and it was that effort that won him the roster spot out of training camp. Unfortunately injuries necessitated the signing of Alonzo Gee and that meant Stokes’ non-guaranteed contract had to go. In the end though Stokes was every bit a stiff and we mean that in the absolute best of ways.