The Los Angeles Clippers are going to be an exciting team to watch this summer considering how much available money can spend to acquire talent.
After a hot start to the season, they have cooled a bit recently. But with the flashes of potential, they have plenty of room to improve with solid young players and a hungry appetite to add new stars into the mix.
When asked by Nate Duncan if the Lakers and Celtics were the only teams looking at Anthony Davis, Yahoo’s Chris Haynes identified the Clippers as another team to watch – for Davis and one of Davis’s former teammates (via Dunc’d On):
“No team is concrete. Obviously, there’s some teams looking and lurking. L.A. Clippers, they’re being really aggressive out there. They’re looking at Kawhi Leonard. They’re looking at Kevin Durant. Obviously, they’re monitoring the Anthony Davis situation, they’re monitoring DeMarcus Cousins – seeing how he’s gonna progress through the Achilles injury.”
Cousins had a heated rivalry with Blake Griffin that dates back to almost eight years ago. But it is an entirely new team than the one Cousins used to say that he hated, back when he had a rivalry with Griffin and Chris Paul.
Both players are out of L.A. and the Clippers could become his team.
Surprisingly, though, this is not the first time that the organization is linked to the big man. In fact, the Clippers once reportedly discussed a trade that would have landed them Cousins in exchange for Griffin.
L.A. can create max cap space without renouncing the rights to Tobias Harris, which seems like the path of least resistance. If they lose Harris by their own decision or his, however, the Clippers can have up to $58 million in salary cap space this offseason, per Early Bird Rights.
Keith Smith projects the Clippers will keep $53.9 million in cap space for the summer, the most out of all teams in the league. He has explained why someone like Cousins would prefer the Clippers over their crosstown rivals (via Yahoo Sports):
“They don’t have the history of the Lakers behind them, but that means a player can build his own legacy. One thing the Clippers do have over the Lakers? Considerably more cap space to add pieces around their marquee signing. And if they go this route, they’ll have playing time (the NBA’s most important non-monetary currency) to offer by the bucketful. Clearing out the entire roster of all but guaranteed money leaves just Danilo Gallinari, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Montrezl Harrell, Jerome Robinson and Lou Williams. That group isn’t a bad starting place.”
If the Clippers could land a healthy Cousins, it would be a huge improvement to their frontcourt. He can be significantly more helpful than Marcin Gortat, who has been a lackluster fit at best with his new team. It is not a good sign that the team has been outscored by 5.5 points per 100 possessions when he is on the court considering he is in their starting lineup.
After just three games back to an NBA court from his devastating injury, it is hard to tell if he will be even close to the same player he was before getting hurt during his 2017-18 campaign.
There are also whispers that Cousins would be potentially interested in a new contract with the Golden State Warriors. This would require Cousins to take a significant discount, though people have certainly done that to win a ring.