DeMarcus Cousins

Bogut Joins Warriors, Cousins Day-To-Day

3:25pm: The Warriors have announced that Cousins’ MRI came back clean. He’s being listed as day-to-day, though he has been ruled out for tonight’s game vs. the Spurs and Medina wouldn’t be surprised if he missed Tuesday’s contest vs. the Wolves as well (Twitter link).

In Cousins’ absence, Bogut will play tonight for Golden State, Kerr confirmed earlier today (link via Medina).

8:48am: With Warriors center DeMarcus Cousins set to undergo an MRI on his sore right foot on Monday, newly-added big man Andrew Bogut will join the club earlier than expected, as Mark Medina of The San Jose Mercury News outlines.

After flying to the Bay Area from Australia, Bogut was initially expected to get settled in – and recover from jet lag – before meeting up with the Warriors when they return from their current road trip later this week. However, with Cousins at risk of missing a game or two, Bogut will be available for Monday’s game in San Antonio, writes Medina.

It’s not clear whether Bogut will immediately play a major role for the Warriors, but if Cousins is unable to suit up on Monday vs. the Spurs and Tuesday in Minnesota, the former No. 1 overall pick could be asked to step in right away.

Nick Friedell of notes that head coach Steve Kerr didn’t sound too concerned about Cousins’ injured foot over the weekend, so the MRI may just be precautionary. The Warriors have played it safe with minor ailments lately, sitting Klay Thompson and Kevin Durant for a couple games apiece after their MRIs came back clean. I’d expect the club to be even more cautious with Cousins, who returned from an Achilles tear earlier this year.

Durant, meanwhile, is expected to return to the Warriors’ lineup on Monday after missing the last two games, Friedell adds.

Warriors Notes: Bogut, Jones, Looney, Cousins

Andrew Bogut could return to the Warriors for their March 16 game at Oklahoma City, according to Mark Medina of The San Jose Mercury News. Circumstances are setting up for Bogut to make his debut in an ABC prime time game against one of Golden State’s top challengers, featuring a matchup against New Zealand rival Steven Adams.

After receiving clearance from his Australian team to rejoin the NBA, the next step for Bogut is to obtain a U.S. work visa, Medina continues. Bogut must decide whether to have a visa sent to the American consulate in Sydney or to obtain a tourist visa that would enable him to travel to Oakland. If he picks the second option, he will have to fly to Vancouver during the week to obtain a work visa.

“Maybe at the end of next week would be the hope,” Warriors GM Bob Myers said yesterday in his weekly interview on 95.7 The Game.

There’s more Warriors news to pass along:

  • Coach Steve Kerr hasn’t given up on the possibility that Damian Jones might return for the playoffs, even though it appears unlikely, Medina adds in the same piece. Jones hasn’t played since undergoing surgery in December on a torn left pectoral muscle. Kerr said the third-year center has done on-court work “in the last week or two,” but still hasn’t participated in “anything live,” such as a full-court scrimmage. The Warriors are already well stocked at center, with Bogut joining DeMarcus Cousins, Kevon Looney, Jordan Bell and Jonas Jerebko. Golden State has Jones under contract for $2.3MM next season.
  • The right pelvic soreness that Looney has been experiencing isn’t related to hip injuries that limited him to 58 games over his first two seasons, Medina relays in a separate story. Looney has missed the past two games and said the training staff told him to rest until the problem was resolved. “I know what real pain feels like. I know when it’s really serious,” he said. “I feel all ends of the injuries in that area. I knew it wasn’t serious and knew I could clean it up in a couple of days. It was best for me to take care of it now.”
  • Cousins credits assistant coach Jarron Collins for making his comeback from a ruptured Achilles successful, Medina writes in another piece. Cousins calls the 10-year NBA veteran and fifth-year coach “the biggest help for me this entire season.”

Warriors Notes: Durant, Jones, Cousins, Bogut

Some members of the Warriors organization are concerned that Kevin Durant‘s recent behavior could be a sign that he already has one foot out the door, according to Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports.

The Warriors are coming off a deflating 128-95 home loss to the Celtics on Tuesday, with several figures around the team expressing their displeasure after the game. Among them was Durant, who appeared to be ticked off from the start of his postgame presser, Haynes notes.

“It starts with a passion, and an anger and an intensity, and it wasn’t there tonight,” head coach Steve Kerr said.

Durant was quick to disagree with this when a media member informed him of Kerr’s comment, curiously about his coach’s declaration.

“I thought we move off of joy?” Durant asked, fully knowing “joy” is a phrase Kerr often uses when discussing their style of play. “Now it’s anger? OK. I disagree with that one. I think all around, top to bottom, coaches, players, we just gotta be better.”

Durant tallied 18 points on just 5-of-16 shooting on Tuesday, also recording five turnovers with a minus-20 net rating. Haynes also noted in the same story how some members of the Warriors are not concerned with Durant’s behavior, labeling it as just a common rigor of the regular season.

Durant, a consensus top-three player in the NBA, has the option to decline a $31.5MM player option and become a free agent on July 1.

There’s more out of Golden State today:

  • Damian Jones is unlikely to return this season or during the playoffs despite conducting an on-court workout Thursday, Steve Kerr said, as relayed by Anthony Slater of the The Athletic (Twitter link). Jones underwent surgery to repair a torn pectoral muscle in December.
  • Draymond Green defended DeMarcus Cousins after the loss to Boston, explaining why fans shouldn’t blame Cousins for the team’s defensive woes in recent weeks. “I think so many people are kind of looking at the starting lineup and saying, ‘Oh, DeMarcus is in there and the defense is worse,'” Green said, according to ESPN’s Nick Friedell. “But our defense has been horses— no matter who’s in there. It’s easy to look at the numbers and think the numbers tell a story, but the fact of the matter is we haven’t been competing.”
  • Kerr discussed the team’s decision to sign Andrew Bogut on a rest-of-season contract, as relayed by The Athletic’s Anthony Slater. “We looked at this as an insurance policy in the frontcourt,” Kerr said. “A guy who obviously knows our system, knows our players. He’s great for our offense — his dribble hand-offs, passing ability, lob threat — and defensively he’s been one of the best in the game for a long time. He had a great season in Sydney. He’s healthy, he’s fresh. He was the best player available for us. We have to look ahead to the playoffs for different match-ups, and we felt vulnerable particularly in case of injury and against certain match-ups.” Bogut isn’t expected to make his debut with the team for at least another week.

Free Agent Stock Watch 2019: Pacific Division

Every week, Hoops Rumors takes a closer look at players who will be free agents or could become free agents next offseason. We examine if their stock is rising or falling due to performance and other factors. This week, we turn our attention to the Pacific Division:

DeMarcus Cousins, Warriors, 28, C (Up) – Signed to a one-year, $5.3MM deal in 2018
Everyone was curious to see how healthy Cousins would look after returning from the Achilles injury and whether he’d fit in with the star-laden Warriors. So far, so good. Other than getting a couple nights off on back-to-backs, Cousins hasn’t had any physical setbacks. He’s settling in as a third or fourth option in the attack, averaging 23.3 PPG over the last three games. He’s also given the Dubs a defensive presence in the middle. Cousins may not find a max deal this summer but he’ll get something close to it from one of the teams with ample cap space.

Garrett Temple, Clippers, 32, SG (Down) – Signed to a three-year, $24MM deal in 2016
The defensive specialist didn’t move the needle as a starter with the Grizzlies and he was dealt to the Clippers just before the trade deadline. Temple is the No. 5 option when he’s on the court but he hasn’t made the most of his limited opportunities, shooting 33.9% from deep after knocking down a career-high 39.2% of his long-distance shots last season in Sacramento. Temple’s age will work against him in the open market. Forget about an $8MM average in his next contract. He’ll be shopping for the veteran’s minimum this time around.

Rajon Rondo, Lakers, 33, PG (Down) – Signed to a one-year, $9MM deal in 2018
A strong argument can be made that Rondo’s decision to sign with the Lakers ruined the season for two franchises. With Rondo at the point, the Pelicans reached the second round of the Western Conference playoffs last season. They wanted him back but he jilted them to join Los Angeles. New Orleans’ season went sour, leading to Anthony Davis‘ trade demand. Rondo has been a poor fit with the Lakers and his PER is a well-below-average 11.7. He’s played heavy minutes during the Lakers’ recent slide, including a 1-for-10, four-assists, two-turnover stinker against Phoenix on Saturday.

Troy Daniels, Suns, 27, SG (Down) — Signed to a three-year, $10MM deal in 2016
Daniels is essentially a one-trick pony and he hasn’t been allowed to perform it as often as he did last season. Daniels, who is playing for his fifth team, has seen his minutes drop to an average of 13.3 per game under first-year coach Igor Kokoskov with quite a few DNPs mixed in. His 3-point shooting hasn’t suffered — his 40% average mirrors what he did last season when he appeared in 79 games and averaged 20.5 MPG. Daniels’ shooting ability should keep him in the league a few more years but he may have to settle for one-year deal or a partially guaranteed two-year contract this summer.

Alec Burks, Kings, 27, SG (Down)– Signed to a four-year, $42MM deal in 2015
Burks was better off playing regularly on a bad team than spot minutes on an improving club in the playoff hunt. Burks flourished with Cleveland after getting dealt by Utah early in the season. He posted averages of 11.6 PPG, 5.5 RPG and 2.9 APG in 28.8 MPG with the Cavs, who then shipped him to the West Coast in a three-team swap. Burks has done next to nothing with Sacramento, scoring 2.6 PPG in 12.1 MPG through seven games. Burks has only attempted five 3-pointers since the deal and missed all of them. Burks needs a strong finish to reestablish his value in unrestricted free agency.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Pacific Notes: Cousins, Crawford, Johnson

The NBA has rescinded DeMarcus Cousins‘ technical foul for tossing Jeremy Lamb‘s shoe during Monday’s game against the Hornets, a source tells Nick Friedell of Cousins tossed the shoe out of bounds and was upset with the referee calling the technical.

“Next time I’ll just step on the shoe and roll my ankle, break it, tear an Achilles,” Cousins said after the game. “Just leave it out there next time. I guess that’s what they want. I’ll keep that in mind.”

Cousins missed nearly a year while rehabbing from an Achilles injury. He’s appeared in 14 games for the Warriors so far this year and he’s been called for five technical fouls outside of the shoe-tossing experience. In his career, Cousins has received 123 technical fouls and has been ejected on 13 of those occasions.

Here’s more from the Pacific Division:

  • Jamal Crawford doesn’t necessarily feel like this will be his final season in the league, as he tells Sekou Smith of “I can keep going and going. And I will, as long as someone feels like I can bring something to the table, I’ll be here. No limits,” Crawford said.
  • Crawford added (in the same piece) that he is enjoying his role as a veteran on the Suns despite not receiving the same type of opportunity that he’s been accustomed to. “I know I can still play at a high level, and can do much more then I am on the court,” he said. “But this particular role at this time has turned into me trying to help others grow their game, and not about my own personal whatever … and there is a beauty in that as well.”
  • Tyler Johnson is still getting adjusted to life on the Suns, but he’s embracing the challenges of learning a new system, Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel writes. “Just like any big transition in your life, it’s going to take a minute to get settled,” Johnson said. “But I think it’s just how you approach it. You can look at things as a negative…or you know, you can embrace it. And that’s what I’ve chosen to do, is just embrace it and I know good things will come from it.”

DeMarcus Cousins Frustrated Over Recovery Process

With seven weeks to go before the playoffs, everything isn’t as smooth for the Warriors as their 42-17 record might indicate. Of particular concern is center DeMarcus Cousins, who told Nick Friedell of ESPN that he is frustrated over his current condition as he tries to shake off the effects of last year’s Achilles tendon tear.

“Obviously, I’m in like a gray area when it comes to that, trying to get back to being myself and also knowing guys are coming at me,” Cousins said after Saturday’s loss to the Rockets. “Nobody in this league is going to feel sorry for me and I know that, so I’m going to go out and battle as much as I can and do what I can. But it still is a process for me; it’s no excuse.”

The Warriors knew Cousins wouldn’t be able to contribute right away when they used their $5.3MM mid-level exception to sign him last summer. Their starting lineup with five All-Stars didn’t fully take shape until Cousins was cleared to play in mid-January, and it hasn’t worked out as planned. Even though the Warriors have been winning, Friedell notes that they have been outscored when the starters are on the court together.

Cousins has averaged 14.1 points and 7.6 rebounds in 13 games since returning, but those numbers have fallen to 9.8 and 7.4 in his last four games. He had a minutes restriction lifted after the All-Star break, but is still struggling to find his rhythm.

“Sure, he’s frustrated,” coach Steve Kerr said. “Think about what DeMarcus has been through with the yearlong injury and the frustrating free agency. So, it’s not an easy thing, a very difficult injury to come back from. After the first couple weeks, the excitement, the adrenaline, the wear and tear begins, and that’s where you really got to be able to rely on execution. So, we’ll work with him. He can do better; he knows that.”

Cousins acknowledges that he is being attacked on defense, especially on the pick and roll. He can’t move laterally or jump as high as he used to before the injury and is still getting used to his limitations. He credits Rick Celebrini, the Warriors’ director of sports medicine and performance, with helping him work through the adjustments.

“He’s preached this to me since the time I stepped foot here,” Cousins said. “There’s gonna be good days, and it’s going to be a lot of bad days through this process. Obviously, I’m in the bad days right now. With every storm, the sun shines at the end.”

Warriors Notes: Cousins, Durant, Cook, Roster Spot

For the first time since returning from an Achilles injury, Warriors center DeMarcus Cousins will be playing without a minutes restriction, according to Nick Friedell of ESPN. Cousins is averaging 23.4 minutes per night in 11 games and has rarely played more than 25 minutes. Coach Steve Kerr said game flow will determine how long Cousins is actually on the court, but there are no more medical restrictions.

“We’ll see how the games go,” Kerr said after today’s practice. “I don’t think we’ll change the plan too much in terms of how we’re going to play him in the rotations and all that, but I think once we get back into the rhythm we can absolutely play him for longer stretches, play him down the stretch if we like.”

He added that the plan was always to ease Cousins back into action for a month or so before unleashing him for full-time duty. The upcoming free agent has posted 13.9 PPG and 6.8 RPG in his limited playing time.

“He did a great job, DeMarcus did,” Kerr said. “So now we’re entering a different phase of the season. We’ll see how it goes, but nothing’s set in stone.”

There’s more Warriors news tonight:

  • Golden State officials are as uncertain as anyone about Kevin Durant‘s plans for free agency, writes Frank Isola of The Athletic“We have no idea what he’s going to do,” a team source said. “Everyone wants him to stay. There’s not much more we can sell him on. If he leaves, we’ll think of it as being lucky to have him for three great years.”
  • No matter where Durant winds up, teammate Quinn Cook could be with him, suggests Marc Berman of The New York Post. Cook and Durant have been friends since their AAU days and may be a package deal in free agency. “Any time you get to play with one of your best friends at the highest level is obviously a great thing,’’ Cook said. “He helps me so much off the floor and even more on the floor. He gets me so many open shots. We have a great connection out there. We know each other. We’ve been playing together the past 10-plus years.”
  • Two-way player Damion Lee appears to be the favorite to fill the 15th roster spot before the playoffs, according to Anthony Slater of The Athletic. The Warriors haven’t given up on Bulls center Robin Lopez, but he won’t be playoff eligible if he’s not bought out before March 1. Another center, such as ex-Clipper Marcin Gortat, is possible, but Slater states that Damian Jones could recover from a pectoral tear by May, which would provide backup help in the middle.

Wizards Notes: McRae, Brooks, Porter, Cousins

Two-way player Jordan McRae showed off his scoring prowess in Tuesday’s loss to the Cavaliers, writes Ben Standig of NBC Sports Washington. The G League’s top scorer this season at 29.8 PPG, McRae hit all five of his shots from the field, finished with 15 points and was part of a reserve unit that led a huge fourth-quarter rally.

McRae had prior NBA opportunities in Phoenix and Cleveland before signing with the Wizards in September. Defense and attitude remain concerns, Standig notes, but there’s no question about his ability to provide a spark on offense.

“I think it’s just about [Jordan’s] mentality,” said Jarell Christian, head coach of Washington’s Capital City G League affiliate. “When he’s thrown into a game on the next level, still being able to function without getting the ball every possession.”

McRae has been waiting all season for an NBA opportunity, but has watched the Wizards go in other directions. They signed Ron Baker in December, then gave a 10-day contract to Gary Payton II last week.

There’s more from Washington:

  • Coach Scott Brooks made a statement by sticking with a patchwork lineup in the final seconds of Tuesday’s game, notes Fred Katz of The Athletic. McRae teamed with Payton, Troy Brown, Sam Dekker and Thomas Bryant to overcome a 25-point deficit with seven minutes to play. Brooks gave that unit a chance to tie the game at the end instead of turning to his regulars. “They played harder than the (starters),” Brooks said afterward. “And our starters didn’t play hard enough. That’s the bottom line.”
  • Otto Porter Jr. has adapted well to his new sixth man role, writes Candace Buckner of The Washington Post. A starter for the past four years, Porter joined the reserve unit in early January because he was on a minutes restriction while returning from a quadriceps injury. He has accepted the backup spot despite being the team’s highest-paid player. “I mean, of course everybody in the NBA wants to start,” Porter said. “It’s an earned position, but at the same time, for the better of the team, you have to take sacrifices. And that’s what I’ve been doing.”
  • The Wizards had discussions with DeMarcus Cousins when he was a free agent last summer, but the sides were never close to a deal, Buckner relays in a separate story. Cousins turned aside questions during the Warriors’ appearance in Washington this week, but Brooks offered an explanation of what happened. “I think the conversation took place but it was his decision,” Brooks said. “When we made the trade [with Marcin] Gortat, we needed somebody now. We couldn’t afford to wait five or six months or four months into the season. We needed a live, active player that was ready to start the season.”

Southwest Notes: Pelicans, Grizzlies, Walker, Rockets

It’s certainly hard to build playoff contenders in the NBA on a regular basis, but the Pelicans have failed to have much meaningful playoff success throughout Anthony Davis‘ career.

As Martin Rogers writes for USA Today Sports, if Davis does indeed leave in the near future, the Pelicans have no one to blame but themselves due to struggles in constructing a competitive team around him.

Pelicans GM Dell Demps has certainly tried to make significant moves to build a contender around Davis, most notably the Pelicans’ trade for DeMarcus Cousins two seasons ago.

There’s more from the Southwest division:

Southwest Notes: Carmelo, Cousins, Faried, DSJ

The Carmelo Anthony trade between the Rockets and Bulls is still expected to get done at some point soon, but the trade call has yet to take place, tweets Marc Stein of The New York Times. According to Stein, the deal may have to be amended due to a discrepancy involving the rights to a draft-and-stash player.

In addition to receiving Anthony and cash in the trade, the Bulls are also expected to receive the rights to Marko Todorovic, while the Rockets receive Tadija Dragicevic‘s rights, per Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle. However, according to Keith Smith of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link), the NBA has made an effort to crack down on swaps that include a player who aren’t expected to ever come stateside. It’s not clear if those efforts will impact what the Rockets/Bulls swap ultimately looks like.

Let’s round up a few more items from out of the Southwest…

  • Within an article about DeMarcus Cousins‘ free agency and his debut with Golden State, the big man admits to Shams Charania of The Athletic that he hasn’t forgotten about how his time with the Pelicans playing alongside Anthony Davis ended. “I think about our pairing all the time,” Cousins said. “Me and A.D. talk about it. It’s f—ed up. It could’ve been something great, something special, but other people had different things in mind. That’s out of our control, and you never know what’ll happen later on down the line.”
  • After sitting on the bench in Denver and Brooklyn, Kenneth Faried is happy to have an opportunity to play an actual role for the Rockets, as Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle details. “The coaches and team believe in me,” Faried said. “They want me to come out and do what I do. I’m excited to be here.”
  • The Mavericks are listing Dennis Smith Jr. as a probable starter for his return game tonight, according to ESPN’s Tim MacMahon, who tweets that the club never discussed a possible move to the bench with Smith before his sabbatical.
  • Mavericks rookie Luka Doncic has been fined $10K for kicking the game ball into the stands during Saturday’s game, the NBA announced today in a press release.