Alex Kennedy: These are my last three texts from players: “Bro, what the hell?” “This is crazy.” “That’s wild.” Everyone is stunned by DeMarcus Cousins to the Golden State Warriors.
Free-agent center DeMarcus Cousins has reached agreement on a one-year, $5.3 million deal with the Golden State Warriors, league sources told Yahoo Sports.
Cousins, one of the top big men on the market, received interest from several teams — including the New Orleans Pelican, Dallas Mavericks and Washington Wizards. Cousins entered free agency after suffering a torn Achilles tendon in late January. A four-time All-Star, Cousins was expected to land a maximum contract on the open market before the injury.
In Golden State, Cousins will team with four fellow All-Stars in the starting lineup in Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Kevin Durant and Draymond Green. Cousins is expected to be healthy for the early part of the regular season, league sources said, but this move signifies his determination to win.
DeMarcus Cousins has agreed to a one-year, $5.3 million deal with the Golden State Warriors, league sources told ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski. The $5.3 million represents the taxpayer mid-level exception.
Cousins has been rehabilitating primarily in his offseason home of Las Vegas and has previously told The Undefeated that he could be ready by the start of training camp. Cousins received phone calls from the Pelicans and the Los Angeles Lakers on the first day of NBA free agency on Sunday, a source told The Undefeated's Marc Spears.
Shams Charania: Free agent DeMarcus Cousins has agreed to a deal with the Golden State Warriors, league sources tell Yahoo.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Cousins will sign a one-year, $5.3M deal with Warriors, league source tells ESPN.
Anthony Slater: DeMarcus Cousins tore his achilles on January 26th. The Warriors open camp in late September, eight months later. Should be on the back end of his rehab.
Tim Bontemps: DeMarcus Cousins is signing with the Warriors for the taxpayer’s mid-level. He’s friends with multiple Warriors from his Team USA days. Question will be when he’s healthy and ready to go after tearing his Achilles back in January.
Chris Mannix: In a weird way, this is perfect for Cousins. Rehab slowly, come back whenever, win a ring and enter free agency next summer, when cap space will be everywhere.
Sam Amick on DeMarcus Cousins: “I don’t know much this is worth in terms of his decision-making, but I’ve definitely heard that [DeMarcus] is extremely interested, if not obsessed, with the idea of playing with LeBron James. That may be a little strong, but it’s a really compelling idea for him. LeBron has called him ‘the best big man in the league’ before and my understanding is that LeBron is, at a minimum, intrigued. I think he has questions about what it would be like to play with him, but respects the heck out of his talent. That’s an interesting possible landing spot for him... I wouldn't be shocked if he went there. I'll be honest. I know it sounds crazy, and we don't know what that deal would look like, but it's not even just his interest in LeBron. That's [a factor], but this is sort of a perfect storm because he's always had an affinity for the Lakers in general. When the Lakers were at their worst, they still interested DeMarcus. I think he would like to play on that stage... But the pragmatic thing [to do] is go back to New Orleans, but I don't know what that deal would look like."
ESPN Insider Bobby Marks said it is going to be “extremely hard” for the Lakers to try and strike deals for Cousins or Spurs target Kawhi Leonard now that they have no salary cap space to wiggle with. “Boogie Cousins is unrealistic (for the Lakers),” Marks said.
Scott Kushner: Pelicans lack of transactions isn’t due to a lack of activity. I’m told Pels have been working the trade market in particular earnest and keeping tabs on FAs waiting for some prices to drop. Obviously, the Cousins/Rondo decisions will play a large role in what Pels can do.
Signing Boogie Cousins could be a sweetener for LeBron. In January 2017, James called Boogie, “the best big man in our game.” LeBron’s praise of Cousins came before the New Orleans big man had suffered a major injury, but sources say he remains interested by the idea of playing with Boogie.
Other than the Lakers, the Pelicans might not have much other competition for Cousins. The Mavericks were once interested, but already verbally agreed to sign center DeAndre Jordan. The Wizards are considered a sign-and-trade possibility, though sources have told me that’s a longshot, with Suns center Alex Len a more realistic target. That leaves the Lakers and Pelicans.
Brad Turner: Can confirm Lakers have talked with center DeMarcus Cousins about setting up a meeting. No date yet, per source.
Marc J. Spears: New Orleans Pelicans All-Star free agent center DeMarcus Cousins received calls from the Pelicans and Los Angeles Lakers tonight once free agency began and is expected to have meetings scheduled with both teams soon, a source told ESPN's The Undefeated.
Sean Deveney: The @New Orleans Pelicans made their contact with DeMarcus Cousins, as expected. Anthony Davis is said to want to have him back. Did not immediately contact Rajon Rondo, whom AD also wants back. But that's likely to come.
Jake Madison: Arnovitz, on The Jump, asks if the Pelicans even want Cousins back. Says that's the elephant in the room. Windhorst says there is a number they'll pay to have him rehab for the next six months
Kevin O'Connor: DeMarcus Cousins sounds like an increasingly likely target for the Lakers on a short-term max contract now that it appears Los Angeles will lose out on Paul George, per league sources. In January 2017, LeBron James called Cousins "the best big man in our game."
Chris Mannix: Teams kicking around a run at DeMarcus Cousins--and there are not many right now--are asking one question: What are we paying for in Year 1? Long term, could Cousins rebound? Maybe. In the '18-19 season? Some strong skepticism.
Bryan Kalbrosky: There is a false quote circulating from a David Griffin (@dg_riff) interview on @SiriusXMNBA. It says he thinks Lakers will get DeMarcus Cousins and one of LeBron, Kawhi or PG. But Griffin said he had no info and the context was "gun to the head, where would they go?"
Sagar Trika: Lowe: No one knows what to do with DeMarcus Cousins, including New Orleans. Hard to find a team that will pay him if Dallas locks up their money elsewhere.
If Jordan decides to pass on the option, Dallas would be forced to try to sign him in free agency. Other potential frontcourt targets for the Mavericks in that scenario include the All-Star big man DeMarcus Cousins of the New Orleans Pelicans and the restricted free agent Clint Capela of the Houston Rockets. The Clippers have granted permission to Jordan and his New York-based agent, Jeff Schwartz, to explore trade scenarios with other teams as they weigh the pros and cons of opting into the final season of Jordan’s current contract, according to the people.
That’s the logic Schlenk used in the biggest trade of the night: trading the no. 3 pick (Slovenian point forward Luka Doncic) to the Dallas Mavericks for no. 5 (Young) and a top-five-protected 2019 first-rounder that will become fully unprotected in 2023. However, based on Dallas’s desire to pursue free agents like DeMarcus Cousins or Clint Capela this summer, per sources, there’s a chance that protected pick conveys next year.
Fan: where do you think Demarcus cousins and Deandre go? Jared Dudley: I think one will wind up in Dallas
Sagar Trika: Woj: Dallas will have interest in signing Cousins, but what they do on draft night on June 21 will factor into how the Mavericks view Cousins come July 1.
Sagar Trika: Woj: Six months ago, DeMarcus Cousins was a max contract candidate and now New Orleans is looking to bring him back on a short-term deal to evaluate post-Achilles injury performance.
With all of the degrees of separation with Cousins, here’s the multi-million dollar question: Will Cousins re-sign with the Pelicans or sign with other teams like the Los Angeles Lakers or the Philadelphia 76ers who are on the rise and/or have viable cap space? “He’s loyal, he wants to be in New Orleans, that I know,” said Hughley [Cousins' former high school and NBA coach]. “I would like to see him play with AD again, but the way the business model was set up, and the salary cap may make it tougher for New Orleans to step out there. I think everybody is trying to play leverage and hoping that everybody would fall out so they could get him for 10 cents on the dollar. Demarcus is way too smart for that.”
Zach Lowe on a podcast with Bill Simmons: "There's no market for DeMarcus Cousins outside Dallas and then you have to go into sign-and-trade world. The Lakers are obviously out there too. People react like, 'No, Cousins is a star, ever team will be willing to pay him the max.' OK, who? He's a big man coming off an Achilles tear and half the teams [with cap room] don't want to spend their cap room because they're bad.'
DeMarcus Cousins told The Undefeated last week that he hadn't spoken to the New Orleans Pelicans front office "in a while," but coach Alvin Gentry made clear on Monday the team hopes the All-Star big man will be back with the team next season. "There's not anyone that does not want him back with our franchise," Gentry said Monday (May 21) at the Saints Hall of Fame Celebrity Golf Classic at Bayou Oaks City Park's south course.
Ever since word spread in league circles in March that Dirk Nowitzki would return to the Mavericks for his 21st season, there have also been rumblings that the Dallas front office will look to make additions this summer that can put the team back on a winning track. The Mavericks can create space to sign a max free agent, and multiple league sources expect them to pursue a trio of big men: DeAndre Jordan, DeMarcus Cousins, and restricted free agent Julius Randle. If the Mavericks do indeed plan to pursue expensive bigs in free agency, then it’d make sense to target a primary scorer, like Porter, rather than Bamba.
As far as free agency, what do you think the level of interest is with New Orleans, on your side and on their side? DeMarcus Cousins: "I know for a fact my teammates want me back there, but you know it’s a business. The people in the front office are going to make the best decision for the team or whatever they feel is the best decision. You know, we’ll see what happens. I honestly can’t answer that question, I haven’t spoken to the front office in a while, so we’ll see what happens."
Are you open to re-signing with New Orleans if the deal is right? DeMarcus Cousins: "Oh yeah, for sure. This is my first time in free agency, but I’ve been around this business long enough. I know how things work. I’m not out here trying to hold a grudge or anything like that. I’m going to make the best decision for me, and I believe teams are going to do the same thing."
What’s your mindset, your view of how to approach free agency? Do you feel like you owe it to yourself to do your due diligence and hear what everybody has to say? DeMarcus Cousins: "Yeah, like I said I don’t plan on rushing through this process. I’m going to make the absolute best decision for DeMarcus Cousins. We’ll see what that is. As of right now, I don’t really know. I can’t answer that. Would I like to go back to New Orleans? I’m very open to that. I love what we created. I love what was created after I went down. I would love to be part of it. But I’m going to do what’s best for me, and I feel they’ll do the same."
New Orleans Pelicans superstar DeMarcus Cousins is a free agent this offseason. His social media interactions tonight are worth mentioning. As noted by clothing designer Brandon Awadis, the big man was asked by a fan why he unfollowed his team on Instagram. Cousins replied, explaining he made the decision because he is “grown” – he has made no comment yet but it’s safe to assume he was not hacked.
The Pelicans have broached internally the idea of offering Cousins a two- or three-year deal at less than the max, per sources familiar with the discussions. I would not expect that to go over well with Cousins' camp. But the Pelicans have the dual leverage of winning without Cousins and a tepid market for him.
Only a half-dozen or so teams have max-level space this season, and most won't pursue Cousins at that level, sources say. He doesn't make sense for rebuilding teams. Even bad teams hungry for a big jump in wins next season -- say, the Suns -- can't be confident Cousins will be ready to produce at his usual All-Star level until 2019-20, anyway. (Still: Never underestimate Robert Sarver's July 1 exuberance in the name of short-term gain.) Some teams are afraid of his baggage.
But by all accounts, including feedback from league executives, Cousins seems happy with the Pelicans. They are winning, and adding him to the equation would make them an even more intriguing threat against the Warriors.
Will Guillory: Will: DeMarcus hasn't really talked to anybody about his plans in free agency, that's why you haven't heard much about it. But everyone within the organization likes what he brings and they'd love to have him back. At this point, I'd bet on him coming back to New Orleans after free agency, but a lot can happen between now and then. He's developed a really good relationship with Anthony Davis and everyone else on the team, and I think he'd love to finish what they started this year. The Pelicans' success in the playoffs certainly doesn't hurt their chances either.
Pelicans guard Jrue Holiday also suggested that Thursday's game could be a recruiting effort for New Orleans, since Cousins is scheduled to be a free agent this summer. "It's awesome. See what the future is like for him - you know what I mean?" Holiday said with a smile. "To be able to come in here and have this atmosphere, especially at home, playoff atmosphere, it's great."
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.
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.
When visiting with Anthony Davis on Sunday night after New Orleans’ road win in Dallas, I had the chance to ask him if he thinks the Pelicans will succeed in re-signing DeMarcus Cousins in free agency this summer in the wake of Cousins’ recent season-ending surgery. Said Davis: “I hope so. That’s a decision he has to make. I’m pretty confident that he’ll stay. From what I hear, he plans on it. But I’m going to keep selling the dream here. I’ll be very involved — I want him here.”
Before DeMarcus Cousins sustained his season-ending Achilles injury, there were nights when they would both go off and their combined stat line was just insane. From the limited time you got play with those two All-Stars, what was that like? And with DeMarcus entering free agency after this season, how hopeful are you that we’ll get to see that duo again? E'Twaun Moore: It was really exciting to see those two guys play together. That’s the best power forward in the league and the best center in the league, in my opinion, so it was so exciting seeing them on the floor together. It was great for us and with a frontcourt like that, we went into every game feeling like we had a huge mismatch. It was definitely a lot of fun. If [DeMarcus] comes back, that would be great. I really want to see those guys back together again because I think we could put together a really good run. If both of those guys are healthy for the whole season and postseason, I think we’d be really hard to stop.
Happily, at long last for the Lakers, they’re warming up, if not red hot. It may be because Magic, still a charismatic figure, is in charge, or that Kupchak did a good job before being fired so that they finally have the right young players, even if none of them is Joel Embiid or Karl-Anthony Towns. Brandon Ingram and Kyle Kuzma are showing signs of being special, as has Lonzo Ball in an earlier stage of development. Julius Randle, thought to be outward bound for cap room, has clawed his way up the pecking order. A year ago if you asked how many of their players had shown they were special as opposed to merely promising, the answer would have been none. Magic still dreams like a Laker, targeting the top free agents: Bron, Paul George and, at least until last week’s injury, DeMarcus Cousins.
Jim Eichenhofer: Asked about Cousins injury as a free agent, Anthony Davis: "It’s tough, not knowing what’s going to happen, how big your market is going to be, are you going to be the same (player) coming back?" Wry smile: "But I think he’s done enough in his career to show that he’s very solid"
When Larry Nance Jr. hears rumors about LeBron James, Paul George and/or DeMarcus Cousins potentially joining the Lakers, does he get excited? “Um, hmm. So-so. I mean, like I said, there are rumors that LeBron is going to go [everywhere]. There are rumors about everything. Obviously, everybody knows about the Paul George stuff and that whole saga. Now there’s [talk like], ‘LeBron may come to L.A. and he just bought a house there]!’ And yeah, we read all of that. We read all of the clickbait stuff. But in reality, we’re just focused on what’s in front of us. We’re just trying to be the best team we can be and if someone like LeBron James or Paul George or one of those stars does come here in the summer, then it’s like, ‘Whew! That would increase our win total by, like, 20!’ You read it. You look at it. But in terms of paying attention to it? Not too much.”
Woj also notes New Orleans wants to re-sign DeMarcus Cousins this offseason, and it would take a "radical change in direction" for the Pelicans to consider putting Davis on the trade block.
The Pelicans are planning a five-year maximum offer to Cousins approaching an estimated $175 million. The marketplace, as it stands, isn’t exactly teeming with attractive alternatives for Cousins to consider, with rival suitors limited to offering four-year deals. New Orleans is thus a heavy favorite to keep its throwback big-man tandem of Cousins and Anthony Davis intact.
The question was put to Nowitzki about how good a center DeMarcus Cousins is right now and how good he also would look in a Mavericks' uniform next season. "That's a loaded question," he said Friday before the Mavericks' 128-120 win over the New Orleans Pelicans. "He's an unbelievable player. Probably the best center we have in this league, or one of them. He's a load down there. He added a 3-point shot last year. He's one of the toughest players to guard and he can pass, too, out of the double teams. He's a pretty complete player.
"And as far as a potential Maverick, you never know. Free agency is tough to predict. We'll see what happens." Diplomatic, for sure. The Mavericks got a heavy dose of Cousins on Friday night as he finished with 32 points and 20 rebounds in a losing effort. Cousins will hit free agency this summer. He's become as good and as versatile as any center in the NBA. He's averaging 26 points, 12 rebounds and five assists per game. The 27-year-old is making better than 35 percent of his 3-point shots and he takes more than six per game.
Cousins will be an unrestricted free agent next offseason and is expected to be one of the top prospects available. New Orleans can offer a five-year deal paying $180 million, which is a lot less than Sacramento could have offered. By the sound of Cousins in Africa, don’t expect him to reveal much about his free agency situation once he returns to the States. “That’s not the focus,” Cousins said. “The focus is on the here and now and that’s the upcoming season and how we are going to come out and perform. That’s our main focus. That’s for later on. We will deal with that later on.”
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 20, 2022 | 8:25 pm EDT Update
Shams Charania: 2021-22 NBA All-Defensive teams: First team: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Mikal Bridges, Rudy Gobert, Jaren Jackson Jr., Marcus Smart Second team: Bam Adebayo, Draymond Green, Jrue Holiday, Matisse Thybulle, Robert Williams III
Bobby Marks: Robert Williams has a $223,215 bonus as part of his rookie extension. However, because Williams is still in the fourth year of his rookie scale contract, the bonus is not earned. The bonus is now deemed likely and his cap hit for 2022-23 is adjusted to $10,937,502.
Melissa Rohlin: Gary Payton II (fractured left elbow) has started to do various light individual on-court activities and will be re-evaluated in one week. Andre Iguodala (disc injury in his neck) continues to show progress and an update will come when he’s cleared to practice.
May 20, 2022 | 7:27 pm EDT Update
The Lakers appear poised to make a decision on their coaching position soon, with Milwaukee Bucks assistant Darvin Ham, Golden State Warriors assistant Kenny Atkinson and former Portland Trail Blazers coach Terry Stotts the finalists for the job that became vacant when Frank Vogel was fired at season’s end. But as the final round of interviews is set, sources tell The Athletic that Ham appears to have made the strongest impression yet.
In terms of the Lakers’ preferences, sources say team officials have prioritized a coach who can command respect and authority from the locker room and who has a strong enough presence and voice to manage the varying roles and relationships across the roster. Those characteristics bode well for Ham’s candidacy. Throughout assistant coaching stops with the Lakers, Hawks and Bucks, Ham has been known for his no-nonsense style and ability to resonate with his players — attributes that have stood out in his communication with the Lakers thus far as well, sources said.