NBA Rumor: DeMarcus Cousins Free Agency

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Wizards not signing DeMarcus Cousins for Orlando bubble

With Davis Bertans opting out of the NBA’s restart, the Washington Wizards are allowed to sign a replacement player before they head to Orlando, and they plan to do just that, NBC Sports Washington has learned. That player would be “for the short-term,” according to a person familiar with their plans. And, partly because of that, they can definitively rule out center DeMarcus Cousins.

John Wall wants DeMarcus Cousins on the Wizards

Wall spoke on the matter Wednesday in an Instagram Live interview with ESPN’s The Undefeated. He told Marc Spears he is still lobbying for the Wizards to sign Cousins, though after years of doing so, he seems to understand full well it is probably still a pipe dream. “Oh man, you know I’m trying to push for that. I’ve been on that for like five years. I want to sign him right now,” Wall said.

DeMarcus Cousins back to Lakers?

A common mistake is to assume that since the Lakers cut Cousins this season, they won’t be able to re-sign him. That’s simply not the case. If rosters expand to 17 players (or if they stay at 15 and the team makes a cut), L.A. could certainly bring Cousins back for the stretch run. Perhaps the confusion is a similar rule. Had Los Angeles traded Cousins to another team and that franchise then chose to release him, the Lakers would be barred from bringing the center back as a free agent this season.
6 months ago via ESPN

DeMarcus Cousins back with Lakers?

When we last left the Lakers, Cousins — signed last summer and subsequently lost for the season with a blown knee — had been waived to make room for forward Markieff Morris. There is speculation the league may allow expanded playoff rosters in the bubble — perhaps carrying 17-20 players — in order to have more reserves available should a rash of COVID-19 cases hit. With the extra time off to rehab, combined with potential expanded rosters, will Cousins make his return to L.A.? The former All-Star center would give the Lakers the stretch 5 they missed most of the season and, with crowd noise a nonfactor in Orlando’s empty arenas, he could certainly have an impact as a vocal bench presence.

ESPN’s NBA insider Brian Windhorst, on his recent podcast, expressed his thoughts what the offseason will most likely bring to big name free-agent DeMarcus Cousins. “I think DeMarcus Cousins is looking at a make good contract, even if it’s more than a minimum. I think that after a series of injuries he’s had, all of which indicates that he’s coming back too fast, doing too much, he needs even more time of coming back from this. He’s gonna have a job in the league, but I don’t think it’s gonna be a big money,” the NBA insider said.

Heat interested in DeMarcus Cousins

For Heat fans wondering about DeMarcus Cousins, who was released by the Lakers this week to make room for Markieff Morris, keep in mind that even though the Heat likes Cousins and pursued him last summer, there’s no indication he’s looking to leave Southern California. Cousins, who hasn’t played this season because of a torn ACL in his left knee sustained last August, continued rehabbing with the Lakers at their facility on Tuesday, and there’s nothing to preclude the Lakers from signing him before the playoffs if he’s healthy.

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.

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.”
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