The Pelicans made the playoffs despite Cousins’ season-ending Achilles tendon injury in January and then advanced to the conference semifinals by sweeping the Trail Blazers in the opening round. That hasn’t changed the team’s desire to retain the Twin Towers pairing of Cousins and Anthony Davis. Cousins is an unrestricted free agent this summer.
“I don’t really talk about free agency. But the bottom line is that obviously we’d like to have him back on our team,” Gentry said. “Anyone that thinks you’re better having a guy that averaged [big numbers] not on your team is really kind of not in tune to what it takes to win in this league. So there’s just so many factors that enter into it. But there’s not one single person, player or coach or in the basketball ops department or ownership that doesn’t want him back.”
Cousins indicated in an extensive interview last week that he hadn’t spoken with anyone in the front office “in awhile.” That hinted at a potential disconnect between the two parties, or even that the Pelicans might let him walk without an offer.
Gentry’s comments debunked that notion. Cousins did say in the same interview he was interested in re-signing with them, though he’d let the process play itself out.
Whether the Pelicans or any other team offers Cousins a max contract remains a mystery, given that Cousins is coming off a major injury, along with his reputation as one of the league’s most temperamental players. The Pelicans reportedly had internal discussions about offering Cousins a two- or three-year contract worth less than the max. It’s also expected that most of the teams with significant cap space this summer won’t pursue him.