DeMarcus Cousins remains without an official timetable for his return, Anthony Slater of The Athletic relays. Cousins, who signed a one-year deal with the Warriors this summer, is recovering from a torn left Achilles.
The Warriors will continue to win without him on the court and they can afford to be patient. However, as one team source tells Slater, “the clock’s starting to tick.”
It’s unlikely the Cousins-Warriors pairing lasts beyond this season. Even if Kevin Durant walks, Golden State won’t have the cap space to offer Cousins any sort of lucrative deal. The team doesn’t have the ability to go over the cap to sign him since it doesn’t own his bird rights.
“We made no bones about it when we signed him,” coach Steve Kerr said. “It’s a one-year deal. We’re not going to have money [under CBA rules] to [afford] him next year. He knows that. So we’d like him to help us win a championship. And we’d like to help him get a great contract next year, somewhere else.”
Cousins isn’t worried about what the future may bring. “I honestly don’t think about [free agency],” Cousins said. “I’m focused on becoming healthy. That’s my main focus right now. After that, it’s helping this team make another run. Everything that’s going to happen in the summer, I’ll wait until the summer.”
Slater hears that Cousins’ recovery has had its ups and downs. The big man will show up with great energy some days and chat jovially with his teammates. On other occasions, he’ll show up “gloomy” without much interest or hope in the process.
“Some days he looks like he has a motor,” Livingston said. “Some days he looks like he’s got a limp. That’s the hurdle. … You can tell it’s frustrating. I’ve been there. When you can’t move the way you want to move.”
“It’s a lot of sore days,” Cousins told Slater. “There are days I really ache. I do a lot of lower-body training. So there are days where my legs just feel like cement blocks and I can barely move. Then there are days where I feel like a feather on the floor.”
The Warriors see integrating Cousins into the lineup as a crucial task. Golden State plays at a faster pace than any of Cousins’ previous teams, so that adds another layer of risk on top of potential chemistry and rotation issues. The center knows he has to play differently than he has in the past once he’s healthy enough to see court time
“Just want to be in shape to play at the pace of this team,” Cousins said. “They play faster than most other teams. It’s not even about the rust. That’s going to be part of the process. I’m aware of that. It’s about having my body in the best shape possible for an NBA game.”