It’s not a complete coincidence this is happening since DeMarcus Cousins‘ season-ending injury. On the simplest level, the Pelicans need more from Davis without Cousins. But Davis is also spending more time at his optimal position (at least in the micro) of center, and the floor is better-spaced better for him – important for his playing style.
But New Orleans’ ceiling is far higher with Cousins, as Davis said.
Will Davis and the Pelicans get another chance to explore that potential with Cousins, who’ll be an unrestricted free agent this summer?
Davis, via Marc Stein of The New York Times:
“I hope so. That’s a decision he has to make. I’m pretty confident that he’ll stay. From what I hear, he plans on it. But I’m going to keep selling the dream here. I’ll be very involved — I want him here.”
Cousins re-signing in New Orleans long seemed likely, though far from inevitable.
Capped out, the Pelicans wouldn’t have a mechanism to adequately replace him. And Cousins’ attitude could narrow his market.
But the 28-year-old’s torn Achilles could throw a wrench in those plans. Will New Orleans still offer him a max contract (which projects to be worth about $176 million over five years)? If not that, could open the door for other teams.
Davis is positioned to know Cousins’ plan, and that makes this quote so intriguing. But it’s also possible Davis doesn’t have the most up-to-date information. And, of course, even if Davis does, Cousins’ plan could change between now and July.