DeMarcus Cousins says he received no real free agency offers this summer once the league year rolled over. Instead, according to Cousins, the former New Orleans Pelicans big man decided to reach out directly to the Golden State Warriors to inquire about a short-term deal.
You can take that at face value if you want, but you probably shouldn’t.
Meanwhile, it appears that the Pelicans did try to entice Cousins to stay during the course of the season. In fact, according to the report from The New York Times’ Marc Stein, New Orleans offered Cousins a two-year contract around $40 million after his injury but before the season ended.
There could be several things at play here. First, it could be that Cousins is simply betting on himself next season. He will likely be out rehabbing for the Golden State Warriors for some time, but if he comes back strong from his Achilles injury he is a top salary type of player.
It could also be that there’s some other machinations behind the scenes that we are missing here, including whether Cousins wanted to stay with the Pelicans and play with Anthony Davis long-term.
There hasn’t been any star big men in the NBA that have come back from a torn Achilles injury and played at their former level. Cousins passing up two years at $20 million a piece is a huge gamble on his part.
There won’t be any pressure on Cousins to perform as a member of Golden State, but whether a team feels like paying him a max salary type of contract in 2019 is another thing altogether.