Cousins to the Warriors will likely be a one-year experiment for an NBA powerhouse that has won three titles in the past four years. If Cousins is healthy and plays at an elite level, he can hit the free-agent market again next summer seeking a big contract. But Boogie to the Bay Area will soon be a reality. Believe it or not. “I feel amazing. The crazy thing is it has been tough for me. But I’m just happy to be with the champs,” said Cousins, who has never played in the postseason.
“I was f—ed up,” Cousins said. “I said to Jarinn, ‘Let’s make a call.’ He was shocked. It was very insulting to not receive an offer. But I understand. I prepared myself for this.” So around 8 a.m., Cousins said he called Warriors general manager Bob Myers. This is not a misprint. Myers cannot talk about free agents until they can sign with teams on Friday. But when Myers can speak, boy does he have a story to tell. Imagine Myers picking up his cellphone and a man with a deep voice says, “Hey, this is DeMarcus Cousins … got a minute?”
“A winning culture and togetherness got us DeMarcus,” Durant told The Undefeated via text. Cousins said: “This was my ace of spades. This was my chess move.”
Adam Himmelsbach: According to a league source, the Celtics never made an offer for DeMarcus Cousins. They’d heard he might have interest in Boston, and by the time they started to look into it, he was a Warrior.
Will Guillory: Let me clarify: DeMarcus Cousins and the Pelicans never had a formal meeting, so there may not have been an official offer on the table. But numbers were discussed and there was an understanding of what each side was looking for. To say the Pels didn't want Boogie is not true.
That is not what happened. DeMarcus Cousins, an All-NBA behemoth, fell into the laps of the two-time defending champions over a chaotic few hours during which the market collapsed on him -- so fast, several members of Golden State's brain trust (including some very close to the innermost sanctum) had no idea the deal was coming. The Minnesota Timberwolves paid more for Anthony Tolliver, and hilariously hard-capped themselves in the process.
They didn't. The Pelicans had a tentative meeting scheduled with Cousins in the coming days, per sources close to the situation. That will obviously not happen. Perhaps they had decided they simply did not want Cousins coming off an Achilles tendon tear, having seen what the stretchy and fast Mirotic-Davis combo could do without him. The fact pattern suggests a limited interest, at best.
A number of teams had a No Cousins policy before he tore his Achilles. That number grew as teams feared committing to what might be a less explosive version of him. Remember: Any contract inked as part of a sign-and-trade must encompass at least three seasons. That might have been too long for teams that would have to send out some meaningful asset for him.
Portland and New Orleans had very preliminary talks about a sign-and-trade, sources say, but Portland's salary target is murky and it might have pushed for at least one non-guaranteed year. As ESPN's Chris Haynes reported, the deal never got off the ground -- in part because Cousins and Jusuf Nurkic, Portland's incumbent free-agent center, share an agent.
By the middle of Monday, Cousins' people were calling teams and pitching deals: one-year, $15 million in one place, per sources, other numbers in other places. Clearly, there was not much interest. It might be that the richest deal easily and quickly available to him was that full midlevel exception contract starting at around $8.6 million.
Kent Bazemore: You cannot win with this social media stuff. You guys take life wayyy too serious. Have some fun and stop quitting every time the odds are stacked against you. Small high school, mid major, undrafted. Just another day in the life. #Goodnight
Checking around tonight, I heard that the Warriors themselves were initially not overly confident that Cousins would accept their offer. He was, after all, talking to the Kings about a super-max deal last season before he was traded, and was eligible to receive a five-year, $180 million deal from the New Orleans Pelicans, though it’s unclear if he was offered anything close to that, especially given his injury.
What I heard: The Warriors executives are almost as stunned as everybody else right now. Happy stunned, but stunned.
Enes Kanter: Wouldn’t be surprised if I see BREAKING: Warriors just signed Thanos and John Wick to add to their bench for one year. Lol
Alex Kennedy: I was talking to a big man who's currently a free agent when news broke that DeMarcus Cousins is joining the Warriors. The player didn't believe me, laughed, told his friends, then said, "They might as well cancel the NBA season. Can we just get our paychecks for the year now?"
Marc J. Spears: Golden State Warriors newcomer DeMarcus Cousins told ESPN's The Undefeated that he had no significant contract offers when free agency arrived, but had already mentally prepared himself for possible disappointment due to his recovery from his Achilles' tendon injury. Cousins...
Chris Haynes: ESPN Sources: Portland and New Orleans had discussed the possibility of a sign-and-trade for DeMarcus Cousins, but a road block existed since he shares the same agent as RFA Jusuf Nurkic.
Marc J. Spears: DeMarcus Cousins tells @TheUndefeated that going to the Warriors was “his Ace of Spades” and he made the “smartest move ever.” More on @SportsCenter coming shortly.
CJ McCollum: Just turned my phone on .... @DeMarcus Cousins whats goin on bruh? .. hit my line ..we gotta talk about this
According to Second Spectrum tracking, Cousins' average touch last season saw him hold the ball for 2.6 seconds, far longer than the Warriors' centers. Bell had the longest average touch time of those players at 1.7 seconds. For that matter, Cousins' touches were longer even than those of Draymond Green (2.2 seconds on average). At the other end of the court, Cousins isn't ideally suited for Golden State's switch-heavy defense. Per Second Spectrum tracking, Cousins switched on just 46 screens all of 2017-18, 2.7 percent of the screens he defended. Even Pachulia, the slowest-footed of the Warriors' centers last season, switched 13 percent of the screens he defended. So Steve Kerr will want to avoid putting Cousins in situations in which he has to switch.
Eddie Johnson: i have said for years that AAU has ruined the competitive spirit at the college and NBA level. Now we are seeing it and we can't just blame the players. Grassroots basketball has to change by not allowing players from different states to play on the same team. @Sirius XM NBA #nba
Zach Lowe: Have likewise heard this came together quickly -- all today basically -- for the Warriors. Some inside the org were stunned when the news broke/deal became final
Chris Haynes: ESPN Sources: DeMarcus Cousins had narrowed his choices down to Golden State and Boston.
The Warriors’ recruitment was led by Green, who has a strong relationship with Cousins, and general manager Bob Myers, and it included a positive phone call between Cousins and coach Steve Kerr, league sources said. Both Cousins and the organization understood the most critical time of the season — the playoffs — will be the stage in which Cousins shines the most for the Warriors.
Sam Amick: On the DeMarcus Cousins front, don’t discount the fact that Alvin Gentry, the Pelicans coach who was top assistant to the Warriors’ Steve Kerr previously, enjoyed his time with the big man. In terms of recent intel, the Warriors had a fantastic source.
Carl Steward: Words from former NBA standout Elton Brand, who suffered Cousins' injury: "No one’s really recovered from that Achilles injury and come back at the same level."
Marcus Thompson: Boogie played with Draymond, Klay and Durant on Team USA. Boogie, Draymond and Durant have a good, if not volatile, relationship. Guarantee they will both say Boogie is a good dude who they can keep under wraps
Anthony Slater: Age of the Warriors' five All-Stars 27: DeMarcus Cousins 28: Klay Thompson and Draymond Green 29: Kevin Durant 30: Steph Curry
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."
May 27, 2022 | 3:21 pm EDT Update
Jeff Goodman: Tennessee’s Santiago Vescovi is expected to withdraw from the NBA Draft process and return to the Vols for this season, source told @Stadium. Averaged 13.3 points, 4.4 rebounds, 3.2 assists and shot 40 percent from 3 last season.
May 27, 2022 | 1:54 pm EDT Update
Shams Charania: Warriors guard Gary Payton II (elbow fracture) is expected to return in the NBA Finals, sources say. Here’s how soon: pic.twitter.com/6TaaQri0Wc
Ryan Ward: The Lakers will hold a draft workout with the following participants on Saturday, May 28: Collin Gillespie – Villanova Tyrese Martin – UConn Drew Peterson – USC Quenton Jackson – Texas A&M Keon Ellis – Alabama Cole Swider – Syracuse