Today, Cousins’ future is shrouded in uncertainty, with executives across the league keeping a close eye on how his first full season in New Orleans plays out. “This season is huge,” said a Western Conference team executive. “He has to prove he can win. He has never played with anyone near the talent of Davis. He has to show he is willing to sacrifice for the team and do what is best for the team first. He really needs to turn a corner. If he acts up, he will cost himself a lot of money.”
Jrue Holiday says his new five-year contract with the Pelicans thrusts him into the role of helping persuade All-Star center DeMarcus Cousins to make a similar long-term commitment to New Orleans. “I’ve already started” lobbying Cousins, Holiday said Thursday night after signing his new contract, which his agent, Jason Glushon, has said is worth $126 million, and could balloon to $150 million with incentives.
Jrue Holiday says his new five-year contract with the Pelicans thrusts him into the role of helping persuade All-Star center DeMarcus Cousins to make a similar long-term commitment to New Orleans. "I've already started" lobbying Cousins, Holiday said Thursday night after signing his new contract, which his agent, Jason Glushon, has said is worth $126 million, and could balloon to $150 million with incentives.
He’ll be a free agent after this coming season, but he said that’s not his focus. “That’s a long way away,” Cousins said. “My only focus is to be the best DeMarcus I can be, come in the best shape I can and help the Pelicans win games this year. We’re confident in our team, we believe we will be in the playoffs this year; it’s just a matter of going out there and doing it.”
The Pelicans can only offer a five-year, $180 million deal, which is about $30 million less than what the Kings could have offered. How much does the potential financial loss hurt? DeMarcus Cousins: It was never about the money. I don’t play this game for money. Anyone that knows me knows that I don’t play for the money. I had money before. I’m perfectly fine. To say it doesn’t help me would be a lie. Of course I want it. It wasn’t about the money. It never was. I wanted my legacy to end in Sacramento. I invested so much time and energy. Everything I had, my whole heart was into that city. Just for it to end the way it did, that was the part that was f—-. But it was never about the money. I don’t give a s— about the money.
Would it mean something to you if the Kings showed you some sort of appreciation, i.e., video tribute, when you play in Sacramento for the first time next season? A Kings source said to expect that. DeMarcus Cousins: I kind of expect it. The city was always great to me. The fans were always great to me. So I kind of expect it. It wouldn’t be a surprise. What would you tell Pelicans fans nervous about your future plans with the franchise? (Cousins can be a free agent in 2018.) DeMarcus Cousins: I’m more just excited about the moment. We’re all living in the moment right now. That’s all we can do. But as far as my [situation], I’m going to do what is best for me at the end of the day.
“I was stressed out two weeks ago, and I just drove home,” a teary-eyed Cousins told The Undefeated after practice on Thursday. “It took two hours at the most. I saw my mom. Hung out at the house. I was mentally gone. I went back to my old neighborhood and hung out on the block. I saw some of my old people. I left there and felt amazing. I don’t know if it was being around that genuine love, it just kind of humbled me.
There is reason to believe the Mavs might have a shot at Cousins when he hits the free agency market in the summer of 2018. He can talk all he wants about how much he loves Sacramento, but nobody outside of California's capital city actually believes he wants to sign another contract with the Kings.
The Mavs made a pretty transparent attempt to butter up Boogie by bringing his younger brother, Jaleel, to training camp and signing him to the D-League Texas Legends. They also have a good relationship with Cousins' agent, Dan Fegan, although that didn't pay off when they recruited his previous clients Dwight Howard and DeAndre Jordan.
That said, that won’t stop the trade chatter involving Cousins who won’t hit the free agent market until 2018 unless he works out a long-term extension in advance which is something Cousins would not rule out when I asked him about his future. “I got a season and a whole other season,” Cousins said. “I focus on these guys right here; I focus on winning games; I focus on making the playoffs; that’s it.”
Consensus among several league sources I asked about the DeMarcus Cousins/Sacramento situation: The Kings would trade him before the deadline if they were smart. The logic is that Cousins is extremely unlikely to return to Sacramento once he becomes a free agent.
In the process, there is a cloud of drama and the seemingly inevitability hanging over the franchise's head. Many people around the NBA expect Cousins to leave Sacramento when he becomes a free agent in 2018. "They're fooling themselves if they think he's sticking around," said one league executive. "The good news for them is his value will always be high. There isn't a point of no return in which you're not getting high value for him. Teams will bid against each other in the trade market. Maybe [Cousins] doesn't go for the biggest money in free agency but you'd love to have that card to play."
May 17, 2022 | 12:27 pm EDT Update
Shams Charania: Oklahoma City Thunder center Derrick Favors has opted into his $10.2 million player option for the 2022-23 season, sources tell @TheAthletic @Stadium.
Dane Moore: With the NBA lottery tonight and draft conversations heating up, Sachin Gupta remains in charge of the Timberwolves front office while, sources say, new ownership remains focused on hiring a “top 5” president of basketball operations to work with Gupta in the front office.
Sergio Scariolo decided to address the rumors circling around, since his team secured a spot in Euroleague, that he won’t be able to lead both Segafredo Virtus Bologna and Spain simultaneously, especially during the national team windows. However, the coach clearly stated that his contract with Virtus allows him to coach Spain and he will be continuing on both benches. “I don’t know where certain gossip comes from, and I don’t usually comment on gossip but anyway, and even for once, it’s worth clarifying that: My contract with Virtus explicitly provides in writing that I can participate in the windows of the national team. And my contract with the Spanish Basketball Federation does not foresee any type of exit and that contract extends until the end of the 2024 Olympic Games,” Scariolo said and took Igor Kokoskov as an example of how doable it actually is if all sides commit.
May 17, 2022 | 10:41 am EDT Update
What was the thought process with not adding a big entering the trade deadline, and how have you seen the team adjust toward not having a traditional center? Myers: The league is realizing that size is really important, but it’s more about positional size than size at the center spot. We didn’t have a great option available to us. Secondly, I was under the impression we would have James Wiseman. He was trending well. We thought he’d be back, ready to go and help us with that vertical space. That didn’t happen and his rehab hit a bump in the road post deadline. That put us in a tough spot, and the market was pretty dry. We had to march forward. Size still matters. But Looney’s been an unbelievable, steadfast guy that often gets overlooked. When we need to go bigger, Draymond and Looney have shown they can do it. They’re capable. They’re not 7-feet tall, but they’re versatile, switchable and very smart. We found a way. We’ll see if it keeps working and if we continue to win.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Fresno State 7-footer Orlando Robinson will stay in the 2022 NBA Draft and hire an agent, sources tell ESPN. He averaged 19 points and 8 rebounds as a junior. Robinson is in Chicago for the Draft Combine this week.
The Knicks need a true point guard and the draft is light in that department. The best point guard available didn’t play in college — Dyson Daniels of the G-League Ignite. Another fascinating prospect is Memphis one-and-done center Jalen Duren, but sources believe he’ll be too much of a project for Thibodeau to sign off on.
David Hardisty: If you think Paolo Banchero will go #1, there’s some money to be made in Vegas right now. Current odds for the top pick of the 2022 NBA Draft: Jabari Smith, Jr. +100 Chet Holmgren +135 Paolo Banchero +420 Jaden Ivey +3500 Shaedon Sharpe +6500