Latest On DeMarcus Cousins’ Free Agency

Once viewed as a lock for a long-term, maximum-salary contract, DeMarcus Cousins has seen his free agent value complicated by his recovery from an Achilles tear. Appearing on ESPN on Tuesday, Adrian Wojnarowski suggested that the Pelicans will likely look to re-sign Cousins on a shorter-term deal in order to evaluate how he looks following that Achilles injury (Twitter link via Sagar Trika).

Wojnarowski’s report echoes one we heard from his ESPN colleague Zach Lowe in April. At the time, Lowe wrote that New Orleans had internally discussed the possibility of offering Cousins a two- or three-year contract worth less than the max. While Lowe didn’t believe that sort of offer would go over well with Cousins’ camp, he noted that the club has a good amount of leverage, given the lack of teams around the NBA with significant cap room.

Although the Pelicans probably won’t offer Cousins a lucrative four- or five-year contract, they do want him back — Wojnarowski noted on Tuesday that as long as Anthony Davis is in New Orleans, he wants Cousins there with him (Twitter link via Trika).

Still, the Pelicans won’t be the only team in the mix. According to Wojnarowski (Twitter link via Trika), the Mavericks are another club to watch, though Dallas’ approach to draft night could impact the club’s interest level in Cousins. If the Mavs land a big man like Mohamed Bamba on June 21, it would reduce their need for a veteran center.

There may not be many other teams with substantial cap room who will make a run at Cousins, but Wojnarowski warns not to discount the possibility of a sign-and-trade deal involving the free-agent-to-be (Twitter link via Trika). Acquiring a reliable wing in lieu of re-signing Cousins might appeal to the Pelicans. One hypothetical scenario that has been discussed by multiple reporters would see Cousins head to Washington in a deal involving Otto Porter, though there would be a few roadblocks in the way of such a swap.

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