Warriors coach Steve Kerr made it clear on Thursday that the team won’t have the money to re-sign center DeMarcus Cousins next summer. On Friday, his general manager wasn’t so quick to shut the door. Bob Myers told Greg Papa on “Warriors Pregame Live” that he would not rule out Cousins’ return to Golden State next summer.
"Options are open, Pap, like anything," Myers said Friday evening. "If you would've asked me a year ago before this if he was gonna be an option for us, I'd say, 'No way, that's crazy!' But he came. He came for a lot less than [what] his market value was. "These type of predictions -- good or bad -- are pretty fruitless because you just don't know. You don't know what's going to be going on on July 1, 2019. You don't know if it's going to be better than you think ... but it's not going to be what you think. So, with a guy like DeMarcus, who knows? If he wants to come back, let's bring him back."
Logan Murdock: Steve Kerr on DeMarcus' 1-year deal with the W's:“We made no bones about it when we signed him. This is a 1-year deal and we're not going to have money to sign him next year so we'd like to help him win a championship and sign a great contract somewhere else. That's the reality."
Can you see DeMarcus Cousins possibly returning to the New Orleans Pelicans as a free agent next offseason? Pelicans star forward Anthony Davis can. "He will be a free agent next year. Hopefully, down the line we can reconnect," Davis told ESPN's The Undefeated on Wednesday night after a 131-121 loss to the Golden State Warriors.
Davis, Gentry and Cousins had an animated discussion after the Pelicans' loss to the Warriors that Gentry said was just old friends laughing and trash-talking. "I think the world of him," Gentry said. "I think he is the best player at his position in the league." Another issue is that Cousins and Pelicans general manager Dell Demps have a relationship in need of repair and have not talked since Cousins' departure, sources said.
One of those guys that’s coming up as a free agent was a free agent this summer. Signed a one-year deal, Kevin Durant. He could have signed longer. I think I predicted he’d sign a two-year deal to get a larger number. Any concern that he only signed a one-year deal and now he’s going to hit free agency? And he might hit it pretty hard next summer. Joe Lacob: That’s a two-edged sword, right? Sure, I think we would have liked to have had him be here longer, sign a long-term deal. On the other hand, we’re happy to have him. By him signing a one-year deal, it save us a little bit of money, actually, right? So, it allows us to do some other things. Like, maybe we wouldn’t have DeMarcus Cousins, right? As an example. KD’s been great. He’s my hero, man. He’s been a really good partner for us. He’s taken a little, as you know, a little bit of a discount over the last few years that has allowed to do a few extra things. I’m never going to forget that.
Logan Murdock: DeMarcus on potentially coming off the bench: "If that's what happens and helps the team, yes." "I understand the situation that I'm in right now and I'm okay with that. I'm here to win and help win games."
The Warriors have no such expectations with Cousins. Next summer — assuming they bring back either Klay Thompson, Durant or both, which would cap them out — they can only give Cousins a 20-percent raise, which jumps him from $5.3 million to around $6.4 million. If he returns healthy and looks like even 80 percent of the player he was before last January’s Achilles tear — an outcome both the player and team desire — Cousins will command way more than that max Warriors number, likely in the high teens per year. And he won’t be in the discount mood, understandably, considering all the money he lost out on this summer.
Question: So you just got a call that morning (you signed Cousins) — can you take us through how it went down? Bob Myers: We talked, I talked to his agent Jerry (Akana) in the morning, and he said: “What are you guys trying to do?” And I said: “What are you trying to do?” From there, I was honest, I said there’s not a lot we can do. Then hearing from there they were open to (taking the mid-level exception), that was the first moment where it looked like there was a possibility it would happen. Then I talked to DeMarcus pretty early that morning. That was really just the beginning of it, just (wondering) if it was something he’d really consider. Hearing his voice, hearing his conviction, it made it real to me.
“It’s a case of the rich get richer. Boogie never reached out to us,” said one Western Conference executive. “I don’t think it was a case of anyone trying to disrespect Boogie. It was more so shock. Like this guy is really available?” He continues, “It’s great for Golden State. Great for Boogie because he gets to rehab with the best team, basically have a strong second half … and get paid next summer. Great for them … terrible for the rest of us.”
Drew Shiller: DeMarcus Cousins: “I’ll do whatever it takes to help this team win ... every player’s goal is to win a championship.”
Drew Shiller: DeMarcus Cousins: There might be games where I only get four shot attempts. There might be games where I’m the leading scorer
League sources say that Cousins rebuffed New Orleans' offer of a two-year contract extension in the $40 million range after the injury but before the season ended. When that offer was declined, sources say, New Orleans took it off the table.
Word also reached us Monday night that LeBron’s Lakers, after signing Rajon Rondo away from New Orleans and then losing Randle to the Pelicans, had an opportunity to sign Cousins at a one-year price point similar to the one that landed him in Golden State. But I’m told the Lakers passed, clearing the way for the Warriors to infuriate the basketball public yet again.
Fletcher Mackel: Truth & nothing but the truth: Pelicans DISCUSSED numbers w/ Boogie & his reps. Cousins camp didn’t like those numbers. Both sides agreed, test FA. Humbling experience for DC. NOLA pivoted to Randle. Pelicans wanted sign & trade deal. Boogie & his camp walked. Took GSW $5.3 mil
What about the Pelicans? A league source says New Orleans did make a two-year offer to Cousins after he suffered his season-ending Achilles' injury -- but the offer came at the end of the Pels' season, not this past weekend. (Don't know specifics on the offer, like options, etc.)
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.
May 27, 2022 | 5:43 pm EDT Update
Sources nonetheless maintain that one option already being weighed by team brass is the prospect of joining the sign-and-trade bidding for the Chicago Bulls’ Zach LaVine, amid a growing belief around the league that LaVine, as he heads into free agency, has more interest in leaving Chicago than initially presumed. Atlanta, Portland and San Antonio — all of whom possess either the cap space or the trade pieces to more readily chase him — have already been mentioned as likely LaVine suitors.
The word choice there does not appear to be accidental. Sources with knowledge of the Mavericks’ thinking say that the team, for all of Dončić’s individual brilliance, remains intent on finding at least one more All-Star-caliber player to complement him, fearful that it would be too difficult to win another championship without one.
The Mavericks, again, know they must address their shortcomings on the front line, but sources indicate that their oft-reported interest in Gobert is somewhat overstated because of Gobert’s offensive limitations and the offensive success they just had in the playoffs with a 5-out style that left the paint uncluttered.
Sources say Dallas remains hopeful of making a significant upgrade at the first opportunity, after acknowledging with its midseason exile of Porziņģis to Washington that its first attempt to secure a starry sidekick for Dončić was a misfire.
Callie Caplan: Luka Doncic’s exit interview: On personnel decisions: “I’m involved. Two-way conversations with me, Nico, Fin and J.” On Jalen Brunson’s free agency: “He’s going to deserve all the money he gets.” Favorite moment this season? “I don’t know.” — until he was reminded of Game 7.
The pick that seems even more certain to be on the move is Portland’s at No. 7, with sources saying the Blazers will push to immediately put a competitive team around Damian Lillard rather than start over. Detroit’s Jerami Grant has been the hot name here, but the Blazers could look at other options.