A report last week indicated that the Kings are prepared to offer DeMarcus Cousins a designated veteran extension when the new CBA goes into effect this summer, and it seems the All-Star center is receptive to that idea. Barring a late change in direction by the player and the team, Cousins and the Kings intend to work out a long-term, maximum-salary extension during the offseason, a league source tells James Han of CSN California.
Under the NBA’s old Collective Bargaining Agreement, the Kings would still have been in a position to offer Cousins in an extension this summer, but the team can put a far more tantalizing proposal on the table under the new CBA. The new agreement between the NBA and NBPA will introduce the “designated veteran extension,” which allows for players who meet certain criteria to sign extensions that start at 35% of the salary cap. If Cousins were to be traded, he wouldn’t be eligible for such an extension, which is one reason why the trade rumors surrounding him have died down in recent weeks.
The designated player extension is only available to certain players who are coming off an All-NBA season, or who have made an All-NBA team twice in the last three years. Because Cousins has earned an All-NBA nod in each of the last two seasons, he doesn’t have to earn that honor again in 2016/17 to qualify for the designated player extension, though he’s on track to do so anyway.
Heading into tonight’s game, Cousins had averaged a career-high 28.1 PPG to go along with 9.9 RPG, 3.9 APG, 1.4 BPG, and 1.4 SPG in 36 contests. The longtime King has even become a threat from beyond the arc — his .372 3PT% and 1.8 3PG are both career bests.
The NBA’s new Collective Bargaining Agreement won’t go into effect until July 1, so the Kings and Cousins won’t finalize anything before then, and it’s possible one side or the other could have a change of heart over the next several months. Still, while the relationship between the franchise and the former fifth overall pick hasn’t always been perfect, it’s hard to imagine Cousins turning down a designated player extension if the Kings put it on the table, since he could earn far more from Sacramento than from any other team.
The exact value of that extension won’t be known until the salary cap is set for the 2017/18 season, but based on the NBA’s latest projections, a five-year extension would be worth upwards of $209MM. In Cousins’ case, it would go into effect for the 2018/19 campaign, tacking five new years onto his current deal, which is set to expire in ’18.