In a conversation with Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated, DeMarcus Cousins explains that he chose to pursue a deal with the Warriors – calling GM Bob Myers himself – because he hadn’t received any offers from other teams, adding that Pelicans GM Dell Demps said New Orleans didn’t plan to re-sign him.
Recognizing that he wasn’t going to get a maximum-salary deal, Cousins opted to play for a title contender for one year, aiming to rebuild his value in advance of 2019’s free agent period. “This was my ace of spades. This was my chess move,” Cousins told Spears.
It’s somewhat hard to believe that no team was willing to offer Cousins a contract before he accepted the Warriors’ $5.3MM offer, and that’s especially true of the Pelicans, who had insisted all along that they wanted to re-sign the star center.
According to Will Guillory of NOLA.com (Twitter link), Cousins never formally met with the Pelicans during free agency and may not have officially made an offer, but general numbers had been discussed and there was an “understanding of what each side was looking for.” It’s not true to say the Pels didn’t want Cousins, Guillory adds.
Still, it’s certainly fair to say that NBA-wide interest in Cousins wasn’t as strong as many observers expected. According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (video link), Cousins’ Achilles injury and a lack of cap space around the league were factors, and so was his image. “There were teams with [cap] space who did not want him in their locker room and didn’t want him in their organization,” Wojnarowski said.
Here’s more on free agency’s most shocking contract agreement:
- The Pelicans had a tentative meeting with Cousins scheduled for the coming days, but that meeting obviously won’t happen now, sources tell ESPN’s Zach Lowe.
- Lowe’s piece includes several other tidbits of note — he confirms Woj’s report that a number of teams had a “No Cousins policy,” and hears from sources that Cousins’ people were calling around on Monday and pitching deals to various teams. The big man’s camp proposed a one-year, $15MM deal to one club, but clearly there wasn’t a ton of interest, Lowe adds. For what it’s worth, Lowe is skeptical that Cousins’ deal with the Warriors will merit the kind of “hype” or “anguish” that it’s received so far, since his health and fit are still question marks.
- While a previous report indicated Cousins narrowed his choices to the Warriors and Celtics, Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe (Twitter link) hears from a league source that the Celtics didn’t get a chance to make a formal offer. The C’s heard Cousins might have interest in coming to Boston, but by the time they began looking into it, his deal with Golden State was done, says Himmelsbach.
- Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer takes a look at the NBA system that allowed the Warriors to add Cousins to their super-team, exploring whether the idea of a hard cap could gain momentum or stop this sort of move in the future.
- We rounded up several more Cousins-related notes on Monday night.