Storyline: DeMarcus Cousins Free Agency

208 rumors in this storyline

The answer could be cutting Cousins outright. In addition to his injury, TMZ reported in August the four-time All-Star was allegedly recorded threatening to kill his ex-girlfriend. Police in Mobile, Alabama, issued an arrest warrant for Cousins with a misdemeanor charge of domestic violence, per the New York Times. The team and NBA are investigating. The initial plan was to keep the injured big man under contract for as long as possible, perhaps using his salary in trade later in the year (after December 15), but releasing him was always on the table should the team find the opportunity to replace him with a player who will further L.A.’s title chances. Cousins, if cut, could rehab with the team (with the NBA’s permission). Perhaps the domestic allegations will cause the Lakers to seek distance and cut him outright, but that’s still unknown.

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No market for DeMarcus Cousins?

However, it appears teams are thinking twice in signing him after he also went down with an injury during their 2019 NBA Playoffs campaign, raising question marks about his health. Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN recently revealed that the market is not looking good for the All-Star center. “There’s not a market for him,” Wojnarowski said of Cousins. ” I think he hoped that some big market teams would strike out, they’d have cap space and he could get a one-year, $12M, $15M, $18M, $20 million deal. That’s not happening. The mid-level exception he got in Golden State last year? I don’t think that’s there.”

The Warriors have never expected to re-sign Cousins simply because they could only pay him about $6.3 million because of salary cup rules. While the verdict is out on Cousins’ market value, it is likely the Warriors might be priced about. Then again…. “It was a weird summer last summer. So you never know how things work out,” Cousins said. “I’m open and I’ll make the best decision for myself and my family. We’ll see which way the wind blows.”

What did Cousins learn? He did not share specifics other than he learned more about his himself, his craft, the Warriors organization and how the business operates. Cousins hoped the general public learned a few things about him, though. “I’m a team guy. I can sacrifice and do what’s best for the team. I control the things I can control. Ill be ready when my name is called upon,” Cousins said. “This is what I’ve always wanted. I’m grateful to be able to say I got to be in this moment. It was a lot of fun. This atmosphere is incredible. I look forward to being in it again whatever that may be. I really enjoyed it.”

Joe Lacob: My great hope is that Klay, as with Draymond and – frankly – KD; all of them who are guys that you’re referring to. …And frankly, I love DeMarcus Cousins too. I mean, he’s another guy who (he’d like to keep). (But) we can only do what we can do within the framework of the collective bargaining agreement. We really like our players – each and every one of them. Draymond has been with us since the beginning. There’s a certain place in my heart for him. Same with Klay. And all I was trying to say by that is that I really personally like them a lot for what they bring to the table. That’s a personal comment, and I really want to see them stay – to be Warriors for life and hopefully build statues for them.

Kevin Durant ready to move on from Warriors?

Or it may end this summer, when Cousins, Durant and Thompson are all expected to be free agents (assuming Durant opts out of the $31.5 million last year on his contract). The players may agree to stay together or choose to seek out other challenges. The buzz from various executives, scouts and media members suggests that Durant is ready to move on. Thompson, if offered the max, will stay. If not, he too could exit. The Warriors may not be able to match market value for Cousins.

Nate Duncan: “For the Anthony Davis sweepstakes, Boston and Los Angeles are in there…Are there any other teams outside of those two that could realistically get in that mix?” Chris Haynes: “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’ doesn’t. It isn’t a secret. His time with them will be brief. The Warriors are the powerful trampoline to the payday he had ripped away by last season’s nightmare injury. Cousins is the brass knuckles under Mike Tyson’s boxing glove, the extra force they can use to bully toward a fourth title. “I honestly don’t think about (free agency),” Cousins said. “I’m focused on becoming healthy. That’s my main focus right now. After that, it’s helping this team make another run. Everything that’s going to happen in the summer, I’ll wait until the 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.”

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.

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.”

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?”
2 years ago via ESPN

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.
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January 20, 2020 | 2:48 pm UTC Update
As one of the returnees on a team with eight newcomers, Kurucs was passed on the depth chart by multiple players until he recently found his stride. After such a promising rookie season in which he averaged 8.9 points per game on 45 percent shooting, Kurucs is averaging 4.3 points on 46 percent shooting this year. He still has the second-half of the year to prevent a sophomore slump, but given the Nets’ depth at forward and uncertainty surrounding his court case — he’s facing multiple domestic violence-related charges stemming from a September arrest — it’s hard not to wonder about his long-term future with the organization.
“I didn’t even know,” Mykhailiuk said Saturday night, after scoring a career high for a second straight game with 25 points in the Pistons’ 136-103 victory over the Atlanta Hawks. “I knew it was a business and sooner or later people get traded. It’s part of the business of the NBA. I was like, ‘Alright, I got to keep doing my thing, working hard and hopefully I’ll play in Detroit.’ ” He’s doing more than playing; he’s excelling.
Antetokounmpo, the overwhelming favorite to win MVP again, believes that line of thinking should be turned the other way, toward the team that is currently on pace to become the third team in NBA history to win 70 games. “I don’t think there’s a team in this league we cannot beat,” Antetokounmpo said. No Eastern Conference team has recorded back-to-back 60-win seasons since James’s Cleveland Cavaliers from 2008-2010. These Bucks bear some resemblance to those Cavaliers.
Milwaukee also might not have the supporting cast that warrants a “SuperTeam” label, but the pieces around Antetokounmpo fit. What else matters? And, while they did blow a 2-0 lead against Toronto, they were a shot or two from being up 3-0 before losing in double overtime. Leonard really was on one. “We’re not worried about it at all. People can think whatever they want. We know what we have going on in this locker room. We know what we need to do and what we need to accomplish. We’re not too worried about any outside influences,” Middleton said, declining to make the above case.
Walker’s 29th try to defeat James comes Monday when his Boston Celtics host the Los Angeles Lakers in the first of two regular-season matchups — assuming that Walker returns after missing the Celtics’ previous game on Saturday with left knee soreness. In eight seasons with the Charlotte Bobcats/Hornets, Walker stepped onto the court against James 24 times in the regular season and four times in the 2014 NBA playoffs, and never left the court with a win.
“I know he still thinks about it a little bit,” said Phoenix Suns center Frank Kaminsky, Walker’s teammate for four seasons with the Hornets, “and he wants to beat him.” The Hornets did have one win against James’ Cleveland Cavaliers when Kaminsky and Walker were teammates — a 106-97 victory in Charlotte on Feb. 3, 2016. But Walker was sidelined by a sore left knee and replaced by Jeremy Lin, who scored 24 in the win.
Steve Clarke, who lives in Norway, first visited the museum by himself while his son was practicing at the FedExForum on Dec. 14. But after going on the tour, he was excited to tell his son about his trip and suggested Brandon attend when he had the time. “I said, ‘This museum is around the people you are around every single day, and it’s part of you as well,’ ” said Steve Clarke. “ ‘Although I am not African American, I am of Jamaican descent, so that is the same thing. They paved for you to get here, otherwise it would not have worked out for me or you.’ ”
The Clarkes spent nearly two hours at the museum. The Grizzlies forward said the exhibit on slavery touched him the most. His father added Clarke was stunned about how poorly African Americans were treated and made a point to talk to his son about the importance of freedom. “He stayed for everything. Watched everything and listened to everything. I was really happy to see that he was interested to see that,” Steve Clarke said. “I felt good about it. I didn’t know if he really wanted to see anything like that. That is not something we really talk about on a regular basis.”
“All these other idiots who don’t play basketball and never played basketball, when they say you wanna judge a guy’s greatness by number of championships … they’re idiots.” It’s safe to say Robert Horry is fed up with NBA fans using rings instead of common sense in debates … telling TMZ Sports titles don’t mean a damn thing when talkin’ G.O.A.T.s. “Here’s the thing that people are so stupid about. They measure great players by how many championships they win. It’s the stupidest thing,” Big Shot Bob told us at the California Strong charity softball game on Sunday.
January 20, 2020 | 12:46 pm UTC Update
“Thankful, most of all,” Carter says of the treatment. “And I say that because I was an opponent for 22 years for most of these teams and obviously these are great organizations that are class acts and for them to do that is great. “I just enjoy playing the game regardless of being an opponent of these different organizations … regardless, it’s a brotherhood, it’s a small community and it makes for an emotional roller coaster.”
And he will hearken back to those glory days of the early 2000s and that special night in Oakland he got to witness in person. “I tell you what, I was thankful that I was able to be there and see those guys win. I remember sitting next to Tracy (McGrady) and thinking, ‘Do you believe what’s about to happen?’ There was like two minutes left, and it was like, ‘Dude, this is unreal.’
“It’s different, but I prefer my people on the East Coast,” Bradley said. “Some people might be offended by that, but I mean, especially knowing I’m from the West Coast. I don’t know if it’s because it’s home for me or what, but I just feel like people are real good friends. That’s all it is. I could go years without talking to someone in Boston but [when] I see them, it’s a real friendship. People are honest, that’s the culture. East Coast, but specifically Boston. People are just good people.”
Even if he does decide to play, he may make his signal behind the scenes in the coming weeks and let the world know when he arrives at training camp. For now, Wiggins is keeping his cards close to his chest. “I’m not sure [about the summer],” he said Saturday after recording his first career triple-double in a Timberwolves loss to the Toronto Raptors. “Right now my team is struggling a little bit [they were five games out of the 8th seed in the West as of Sunday] so we have to get back and try to get in a playoff run. That’s my main goal right now. And after that I’m going to decide on Canada Basketball.”

January 20, 2020 | 1:29 am UTC Update
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And now here we are, with the Sixers charging headlong toward the playoffs, ready to make good on what head coach Brett Brown has proclaimed is a championship-caliber team. This is new territory for Brown, who was hired as coach seven years ago, just when the team embarked on an epic intentional collapse — dubbed “The Process” — in order to position itself near the head of the worst-goes-first line in the drafting of the best college players. The team set records for losing over four years, and Brown, all along, stood behind this method, often talking about his players as if helping them become men might be his real job. Was Nerlens Noel, a center the team drafted in the early days of the Process, engaged in timeouts? Was he helping teammates off the floor? How was he comporting himself on planes when the team went on the road? At the end of 2014, when Embiid was proving to be high-maintenance as he rehabbed a broken foot, Brown said this: “Joel Embiid has a good heart. At the end of the day, he has a good heart. I don’t throw that sentence out lightly. That needs to be the criteria of everybody in here.”
Meanwhile, Brown’s approach hasn’t changed. He talks up his best players, never criticizing them publicly. And to this point, it’s worked, obviously: Embiid and Simmons, 25 and 23 years old, are All Stars. But they still have a big piece of themselves to overcome, or to unlock. They still need to grow up. Which gives Brown, who started out in Philly with all the room in the world, a dilemma: Suddenly, he has very little time. Sixers owner Josh Harris has a history of listening to the noise of fans and media, plenty of whom think the team’s head coach should stop babying his two stars and force-feed their growth, given that they’re being paid tens of millions a year and we’re so close to that championship.
IT MIGHT SEEM, then, a bit strange that Brett Brown talks a lot about toughness as central to what he’s all about, though it’s not by accident. “Philly tough, Philly strong” was the banner phrase of an early-season team promo featuring the coach’s voice. Talking toughness is a part of getting his team to play in a certain style, but for Brown, it’s also been a natural way of connecting to the city, of molding a certain persona. “You become a spokesperson and mouthpiece of the owners and players,” Brown says. “I am quite calculated on what I want to talk about.” It helps his standing here, too.
But Brown, who’s 58, does come by toughness, in his own way, naturally. He grew up in seaside Maine towns where his father coached basketball. His father’s father made a living taking wealthy businessmen from New York and Boston and Montreal to fish or hunt moose and bear in Northern Maine. And his father — Brett’s great-grandfather — had a job as a railroad switchman, changing the tracks to direct trains either to Quebec or Montreal. “He had to shovel snow off the tracks and remove dead animals, too,” Brown says. “Which could be anything.”
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