Mavs, Lakers To Pursue DeMarcus Cousins In Free Agency?

Not many NBA teams currently project to have maximum-salary cap room this offseason, but for those teams with space, DeMarcus Cousins figures to be a top target. Appearing on Nate Duncan’s Dunc’d On Podcast this week, Marc Stein of The New York Times identified the Mavericks and Lakers as two teams expected to push the Pelicans for Cousins, though he cautioned that New Orleans still looks like the frontrunner.

“I think most teams around the league believe that the Pelicans will re-sign Cousins unless he doesn’t want to stay there,” Stein said, according to RealGM. “I think the Pelicans are the clear favorites. Now, I would say there’s an expectation – and maybe it’s even speculation on the part of rival teams – but I’ve heard Dallas and the Lakers mentioned most frequently. Those are teams that are expected, whatever ‘expected’ means, to make a run at him.”

The Lakers figure to have enough room for at least one max player, if not two, but as Stein acknowledges, LeBron James and/or Paul George may rank higher than Cousins on L.A.’s list of potential targets. As for the Mavs, options for Wesley Matthews and Dirk Nowitzki would cut into their space significantly, but the team may still have enough flexibility to put a max offer on the table. Noting that there has been Cousins-related chatter for a while in Dallas, Stein suggests that a pursuit of the big man “would be a very Mark Cuban move.”

While it’s worth surveying the potential free agency landscape for Cousins, it’s probably still too early to get a real sense of which teams will pursue him most aggressively and where he could realistically land. The Pelicans’ success – or lack thereof – during the rest of the 2017/18 season figures to play a major part in the 27-year-old’s summer decision. New Orleans will also be able to offer more years and more money than any other team.

Cousins is currently in the midst of perhaps his best all-around season, averaging an impressive 25.5 PPG, 12.6 RPG, 5.1 APG, 1.6 BPG, and 1.5 SPG to go along with a .474/.356/.749 shooting line.

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29 thoughts on “Mavs, Lakers To Pursue DeMarcus Cousins In Free Agency?

  1. bennyg

    As a Lakers fan, I would love this but Boogie would be stupid to leave NO. All they need is a decent two guard and some extra depth on the pine and the Pelicans are contenders for years to come

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    • What’s your point ? Being a (so-called)
      Lakers fan. Who cares bout the pelicans.
      Magic if you can get boogie? I’m all in !

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      • TrustTheProcess

        He was saying its illogical for him to leave the Pelicans based on his situation and the pathetic Lavar-Lakers Drama.

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  2. Thronson5

    I really hope the Lakers sign Cousins. I don’t care if they get another star but this guys a beast and I think he would fit well with Ball, Kuzma, Nance, Ingram and Hart.

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    • I think if the Lakers are only able to clear cap space for one guy, Cousins should be their choice. Looking ahead, it would fill the most obvious hole on their roster and wouldn’t block any important piece. Obviously if LeBron expresses interest in going to LA, you have to entertain the idea, but I don’t see him and Lonzo fitting together well (play style wise) and adding LeBron would likely block one of Ingram or Kuzma, or both, from truly breaking out. Even if they were to add LeBron, the center position would still remain as the biggest hole and LeBron’s max contract (plus the space that the Lakers would have to allocate in the future for Lonzo, Ingram, Kuzma, etc) would make adding a decent center a tough thing to do (unless its LeBron/Cousins that go to LA). If Cousins does hit the open market with genuine interest in going elsewhere, the Lakers should focus their free agent push on him.

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  3. Z-A

    NOLA is in a tough spot. You have Anthony Davis, best Center who doesn’t want to play Center. I’d deal them both. Send one to LAL Send the other to Celtics. Doesn’t matter which. Get a couple picks, and young players. Start over.

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    • Davis is really a PF. Making him static in the post takes away from his overall game.

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    • Thomas Swanson

      Except they both love New Orleans and want to stay there. Cousins is from Alabama. Rondo, Cousins, and Davis all 3 played at Kentucky. For the Lakers, until they have a winning season, no major free agent will go there. They won’t get Cousins, LeBron, or George because they haven’t shown they can win. And now you have the LaVar Ball problem.

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      • Z-A

        I’m sure they would love playing in the East for a championship vs the Warriors more than being a low seed playoff team.

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        • Thomas Swanson

          Anthony Davis got upset and called the GM when he heard he might be traded to the Celtics. the owner and GM told him he wasn’t going anywhere.
          Boogie and Anthony are like Melo, George, and Westbrook. They are superstars who need playing time together. Davis has been injured. Like OKC they are still a player or two away. Like the guy in this article says, and I’ve read it many other places, Boogie likes it in New Orleans.

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          • Thomas Swanson

            To get Davis, New Orleans would be asking for more than Danny Ainge is willing to give back.

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    • Any trade involving Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins will inherently be a “loss” for the Pelicans. The Celtics likely aren’t going to give up Tatum or Brown for Davis, and if that’s the case, what would be the point of sending him to Boston unless they were to get a huge haul of unprotected/minimal protection firsts (three or more, with at least one being a near lottery pick). For example, if Tatum and Brown weren’t part of the deal, the Memphis and LA Clippers picks would definitely have to be in there as a bunch of future Celtics first rounders won’t hold enough value.

      In regards to the Lakers, they aren’t moving Ball or Ingram for Cousins and I doubt they would for Anthony Davis either. Nance and Randle would be available, but I doubt the two of them plus a first[s] rounder does much to interest the Pelicans in a deal for Cousins unless he tells them he has no intention of resigning. Kuzma would need to be thrown into a potential Anthony Davis deal, but he’s not exactly an enticing headliner even considering his great play. They probably should blow it up, but not this season. They still have Jrue Holiday on a big contract and Omer Asik and Solomon Hill make over $10m each for the next two years. They need to wait for at least Asik’s contract to be in its last year and for some years to burn on Holiday’s contract before starting over can be a serious consideration.

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  4. smittybanton

    I been trying to tell folks, Paul George wants the Lakers more than they want him, now that Kyle Kuzma and Ingram have emerged.

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    • Thomas Swanson

      George just said 2 weeks ago that winning is more important to him than going back to L.A. He proved this once. When he was a restricted free agent, he took the Pacers over the Lakers. He’ll do it again.

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      • Even going back to his last year in Indy, he claimed that winning was the most important thing to him and the primary reason he was going to leave Indy was because he didn’t feel they could win a championship with their core. The Lakers, even with the addition of George and say another superstar, are still not better than the Warriors and would likely be another two years before all of their young guys (Kuzma, Hart, Ball, Ingram) really hit their stride and can contribute consistently and well enough to make the Lakers a serious championship contender. At this point, it wouldn’t surprise me if he ended up resigning with OKC.

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        • Thomas Swanson

          Me too. Melo and George both like Westbrook. They’ve beaten both the Warriors (badly) and the Rockets. They play good against good teams, but overlook the bad ones. They can be good.

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  5. Why trade for Lopez if you’re planning on going after Cousins down the road. I get the salary dump of Moz, but moving Russell might have been premature (move future draft picks instead now that the base is set).

    Just imagining a team of Ball, Russell, Randle, Ingram, Kuzma and a couple of FA’s like Cousins with James or George if it wasn’t for genius moves by Kupchak (Deng, Moz).

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    • Compton

      Lopez is just an expiring contract. They traded for the contract not the player.

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    • Even if Russell wasn’t traded and those bad contracts weren’t given out, they’d have to let Randle walk to fit in the two max contracts. Plus, one of Ingram or Kuzma would eventually end up leaving as they would be limited by LeBron and/or George’s presence on the roster.

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      • Thomas Swanson

        Luol Deng is the key to getting their salary down. Like Chicago with Dwayne Wade, they’ll either have to keep him or eat his contract. When they don’t get LeBron, George, or Cousins, they may want Lopez back. He’s better than those before him.

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  6. The Lakers have given Cousins several years of interest about him being on our team.
    My concern is that Cousins may not be so interested; if he ever was

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  7. Grant

    What if the Wizards trade Gortat to the magic and stretch mahinmi. Could they scrounge up enough money to make a competitive offer at Boogie? I am sure he might take less to play with Wall

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    • Thomas Swanson

      They already have 3 max players in Otto Porter, Beal, and Wall. They tried to get the Pacers to trade them Paul George for Porter in a sign and trade last summer. They had to let Boban Bogdonovich go last summer because of the salary cap.

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    • Thomas Swanson

      Right now they are $5.5 million into the luxury tax.
      Stretching Mahinmi would save about $3 million. They wouldn’t save anything trading Gortat. After not relinquishing their own free agents, it looks like they’ll have around $10 million to spend (see Basketball Insiders, click on team salaries, click on Wizards). Luxury tax should be around $120 million. Like the George deal, they could offer Bradley Beal in sign and trade. I really think Cousins is a Southern guy. He likes it there and has Anthony Davis and Rajon Rondo too. With his personality he needs them.

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