The Phoenix Suns will have quite a bit of cap space this offseason and could be interested in taking a chance on signing DeMarcus Cousins.
Kevin O’Connor reports that if the Suns pursued a player like Kemba Walker, they might try to land the big man as well (via The Ringer):
“There’s also the ultimate gamble of pursuing unrestricted free agent DeMarcus Cousins; multiple league sources said the Suns pursued Cousins prior to the 2017 deadline. Nonetheless, the Suns are positioned to swing for the fences, and the time to do so could be coming soon.”
The talks reportedly involved forward TJ Warren and big man Alex Len as well as their first round pick, which was later used to select Josh Jackson. Kings GM Vlade Divac also confirmed the talks, saying that Sacramento wanted Suns star Devin Booker in a potential deal.
If Cousins doesn’t return to New Orleans this summer, Phoenix could be an interesting destination given their young core (which includes three former Kentucky standouts – Booker, Brandon Knight and Tyler Ulis – whom Cousins likely has a relationship with) as well as assistant coach Ty Corbin (whom he played under in Sacramento).
The offensive juggernaut has continued to be a monster in the paint while drastically improving as a three-point shooter. In his first five NBA seasons, Cousins made just 11 threes and shot 15.9 percent from beyond the arc. During his final season and a half with the Kings, he started expanding his range and was a solid shooter. But he’s been even better since joining the Pelicans, hitting 35.9 percent of his threes on six attempts per game.
He also makes a difference as a distributor; his assist rate has been in the 90th percentile or above for the last six years, per Cleaning The Glass. Only four teams have a lower assist rate than the Suns this season, so they could certainly use the help.
It remains to be seen what will happen when Cousins hits unrestricted free agency this offseason, but the Suns could be a team to watch – especially if, as O’Connor said, they can land a fellow star like Walker and shift their focus on winning now rather than rebuilding.