DeMarcus Cousins is signing a one-year contract with the Warriors for just the $5,337,000 taxpayer mid-level exception.
Why did he accept so little from Golden State rather than getting more elsewhere?
Marc Spears of The Undefeated on ESPN:
He told me he got zero offers. Zero offers. This is a four-time All-Star, one of the best players in the world. Zero offers. So, he was certainly confused, certainly hurt.
Even so, the Pelicans still had something like $13.7 million to spend before bumping into the luxury tax. They could have outbid the Warriors paltry $5.3 million deal — the mini-midlevel exception for tax teams.
They didn’t. The Pelicans had a tentative meeting scheduled with Cousins in the coming days, per sources close to the situation. That will obviously not happen.
Scott Kushner of The Advocate:
Will Guillory of The Times-Picayune:
What constitutes an offer? It’s sometimes such a silly distinction. If Cousins knew what the Pelicans were willing to pay him, that counts for me. I don’t care whether they formally presented it yet if everyone understood Cousins could have gotten that amount.
By not calling it an “offer,” New Orleans can say it wasn’t rejected and Cousins can build an narrative around being slighted and the chip on his shoulder growing.
How much were the Pelicans willing to pay Cousins? We might never know the specifics, but it clearly wasn’t the full max and probably wasn’t anywhere close.
Were truly no other teams interested? The Celtics were reportedly runner-up for him, so it seems they were. But Cousins’ torn Achilles is scary and could significantly diminish his production. There are also teams that want nothing to do with him and his attitude. Perhaps most importantly, few teams have more cap space than the mid-level exception. Even teams that value Cousins – injury, moodiness and all – far higher than what he’ll get from Golden State might not have had the cap room to do anything about it.
So, I’m not convinced Cousins’ salary with the Warriors reflects the league-wide opinion on his value – even if that’s how it’s being spun.