Southwest Notes: Cousins, Rondo, Doncic, Belinelli

Pelicans GM Dell Demps made his first public comments on the loss of free agents DeMarcus Cousins and Rajon Rondo in an interview with Rod Walker of The New Orleans Advocate.

According to Demps, team officials met with Cousins on the first two days of free agency, but the two sides weren’t able to find “common ground.” Demps called negotiations with Cousins “respectful” and “cordial,” but said the uncertainty over his physical condition in the wake of a torn Achilles made it difficult to reach a deal. Cousins eventually signed a one-year contract with the Warriors for their $5.3MM taxpayer mid-level exception.

“The unknown of returning to play made it difficult for both sides to find a common ground,” Demps explained. “We enjoyed DeMarcus in New Orleans and wanted him back. We had multiple discussions with his representatives. It was just very difficult for us to find common ground.”

Rondo also headed west for a one-year contract, signing with the Lakers for $9MM after a single season in New Orleans. Demps hopes the intangibles that Rondo brought will influence other players.

“Ultimately, it was a tough situation because we had so much success with Rondo with his leadership and on-court presence,” Demps said. “We felt like we had a chemistry. Unfortunately, he’s not back. At the same time, we believe that his impact will stay with our team.”

There’s more from the Southwest Division:

  • The Mavericks made the correct move in holding first-round pick Luka Doncic out of Summer League play, writes Dwain Price of NBA.com. Doncic’s buyout with Real Madrid wasn’t finalized until Monday, and he would have faced a difficult adjustment in joining the team in Las Vegas after it had already played two games.
  • Manu Ginobili was among the first people to text congratulations to Marco Belinelli after he committed to return to the Spurs, notes Tom Orsborn of The San Antonio Express News. That doesn’t guarantee Ginobili will be back for another season, but he’s glad to see his former teammate return after winning a title together in 2014. “We didn’t talk about [Ginobili playing], but I can say he was really happy about me coming back,” Belinelli said. “Winning a championship with that great team was amazing. Nobody is going to take that away from me.”
  • Rockets second-round pick De’Anthony Melton has turned in a standout performance in the Las Vegas Summer League, writes Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle. Melton slipped to the 46th pick after not playing last season at USC, and he has looked like a steal so far. Melton struggled with his shot in the opener, but is 10 of 23 from 3-point range since then and has impressed the coaching staff with his defense and play-making.
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5 thoughts on “Southwest Notes: Cousins, Rondo, Doncic, Belinelli

  1. formerlyz

    Melton seems to have really improved his jumpshot. He has a lot of Marcus Smart in him, so when he gets stronger, he can guard multiple positions

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  2. knickscavsfan

    Cousins took a 1/$6 mil deal. Unless he felt insulted and decided to reach out to GSW, how far off on a number could you guys have been?

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    • kenly0

      They offered 2 years 40 million and he turned it down. Just plain ignorant of you ask me.

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  3. cesc

    Well that shows that whatever they offered to him if he felt disrespected or anything, this guys don’t have a problem going somewhere else for less, they probably were trying to get the best deal possible getting him maybe 3 for a fairly cheap price. If you ask me with superstars you don’t penny pinch you give them what they want, then with the role players you can low ball them, you can get a dozen a dime of them, but guys like DMC, they ain’t many in the league. That is a big loss for NOLA, see how they do this year with Payton/JR instead of Rondo/DMC

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