DeMarcus Cousins

Daniel Theis Re-Signs With Celtics

JULY 17: The Celtics have officially re-signed Theis, the club confirmed today in a press release.

JULY 2: The Celtics have reached an agreement to keep forward/center Daniel Theis, tweets ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. The two-year, $10MM deal was confirmed by Theis’ agents, Michael Tellem and Aaron Mintz of CAA.

Boston will use its Early Bird rights to re-sign Theis, allowing the team to exceed the cap, according to ESPN’s Bobby Marks (Twitter link). The deal won’t be finalized until after the Celtics exhaust their cap space by adding Kemba Walker.

Theis has been a reliable backup since coming to Boston in 2017. He appeared in 66 games this season, starting twice, and averaged 5.7 points and 3.4 rebounds in about 14 minutes per night.

Theis may complete the Celtics’ efforts to fortify the center position after losing Al Horford in free agency and trading Aron Baynes. They reached an agreement with Enes Kanter on Sunday and French center Vincent Poirier earlier today.

Boston has no plans to pursue free agent DeMarcus Cousins, believing the “potential drama” outweighs any benefits, according to Mark Murphy of The Boston Herald (Twitter link).

Lakers Notes: Pelinka, Contracts, Green, Cousins

The Lakers are taking an all-or-nothing mentality into next season with the acquisition of Anthony Davis and numerous veteran free agents, including DeMarcus Cousins. GM Rob Pelinka said there’s only one goal for next season, according to Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN“For us, anything short of a championship is not success,” Pelinka said. “So we have to learn from last season, because we didn’t win a championship. And a lot of that went into the construction of the roster this year.”

We have more on the Lakers:

  • Pelinka notes the benefit of signing players to short-term contracts. While Davis is expected to be a long-term Lakers, only James (player option) is currently on the books beyond 2021, Tania Ganguli of the Los Angeles Times relays. “It gives us the ability to not only contend in the short term with the players we wanted, but also add a superstar or max player in that July of 2021,” Pelinka said.
  • Shooting guard Danny Green, another off-season free agent addition, said he waited for Raptors teammate Kawhi Leonard to make his decision before he chose his destination, according to another Ganguli story. Green may have stayed in Toronto or gone to Dallas if Leonard hadn’t joined the Clippers. “Those five days seemed like five months. … You think a day, it goes by pretty fast but the way it was happening, the way I was talking to him, you would think it was a week. Like, ‘I got to wait another day, dude? Like, come on!’” Green said.
  • The Cousins signing will only work if he’s willing to come off the bench and split the center spot with JaVale McGee, Dan Woike of the Los Angeles Times opines. That could be a tough for Cousins to accept, given that he was a premier player prior to rupturing his Achilles two seasons ago, Woike notes. Cousins is thrilled to be reunited with former Pelicans teammate Davis, Youngmisuk writes in a separate story“We realized how much better we made one another and how much we made the game easier for each other. We both appreciate each other’s presence,” Cousins said. “To add LeBron James to the mix, his résumé speaks for itself.”

Lakers Officially Acquire Anthony Davis In Three-Team Trade

The Lakers, Pelicans, and Wizards have officially completed the three-team trade that makes Anthony Davis a Laker. All three teams issued press releases tonight to announce the deal. The structure of the trade is as follows:

  • Lakers acquire Anthony Davis.
  • Pelicans acquire Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart, the draft rights to De’Andre Hunter (No. 4 pick), the Lakers’ 2021 first-round pick (9-30 protected; unprotected in 2022), the Lakers’ 2024 first-round pick (unprotected), the right to swap 2023 first-round picks with the Lakers, and cash ($1.1MM; from Wizards).
    • Note: The Pelicans will also have the option to defer the 2024 first-round pick to 2025.
  • Wizards acquire Moritz Wagner, Isaac Bonga, Jemerrio Jones, and the Lakers’ 2022 second-round pick.

The long-awaited deal was held up slightly today as the Lakers officially finalized a series of signings using their cap room. In order to maximize its cap space, the club had to sign free agents first before acquiring Davis. Danny Green, DeMarcus Cousins, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Quinn Cook, and JaVale McGee all signed their contracts with the Lakers since the July moratorium ended this afternoon.

The Pelicans, meanwhile, will now flip the rights to Hunter to the Hawks in a separate deal, putting the No. 4 pick on track to join his new team for Summer League action. Once the deal is done, Atlanta will also be able to complete its trade with the Sixers involving Bruno Fernando and Jordan Bone, then Philadelphia will be able to flip Bone to the Pistons.

For more details on one of the summer’s biggest trades, be sure to check out our previous stories on the Lakers/Pelicans aspect of the deal, as well as the Lakers/Wizards part of the swap.

Lakers Announce Multiple Signings

After a flurry of moves today, the Lakers have made five of them official, tweets Bill Oram of The Athletic.

The team announced the re-signing of Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and JaVale McGee, along with the free agent additions of DeMarcus Cousins, Quinn Cook and Danny Green.

Still to come are the signings of Rajon Rondo, Troy Daniels, Jared Dudley and Alex Caruso, along with confirmation of the mega-deal that will bring Anthony Davis from the Pelicans.

Lakers To Sign DeMarcus Cousins

2:53pm: Wojnarowski passes along an update on Cousins’ salary figure, tweeting that the deal will actually be worth $3.5MM rather than the minimum. So the Lakers will need to use cap space or the room exception for the signing.

2:22pm: Schwartz tells ESPN that Cousins’ deal will be worth just $2.3MM. That sounds like a veteran’s minimum contract, as the big man’s minimum salary this year will be $2,331,593.

1:38pm: The Lakers have reached a deal with perhaps the most notable free agent left on the market, as agent Jeff Schwartz tells Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter link) that DeMarcus Cousins will sign a one-year contract with the Lakers.

Cousins, a two-time All-NBA Second Team center, had to deal with a limited market this summer after a season in which he spent the first half recovering from an Achilles tear, then missed most of the postseason due to a torn quad.

Appearing in 30 regular season games for the Warriors, Cousins still put up impressive per-minute numbers, averaging 16.3 PPG, 8.2 RPG, 3.6 APG, 1.5 BPG, and 1.3 SPG in 25.7 minutes per contest. However, he struggled on defense and didn’t have his old explosiveness.

Still, the Lakers won’t have to pay huge money to roll the dice on Cousins for one year. While we don’t yet know what the 28-year-old’s new contract will be worth, the club is believed to have used up more than two-thirds of its projected $32MM in cap room on reported deals for Danny Green, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, and Quinn Cook.

In Los Angeles, Cousins will team up once again with his old Pelicans teammate Anthony Davis. According to Wojnarowski (via Twitter), the Heat were among the teams with interest in Cousins, but a handful of Lakers players – including AD – helped sell him on joining the Lakers.

Cousins’ and Davis’ relationship in New Orleans was solid, according to David Aldridge of The Athletic, who tweets that AD’s pitch to Cousins was short and to the point: “Let’s win it all.”

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Heat Notes: Hard-Cap Crunch, Dragic, Nunn

The Heat may have a logjam for their final roster spots in 2019/20, Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald writes. Given that the team is hard-capped due to the Jimmy Butler sign-and-trade, Miami’s best bet of avoiding the $138.9MM hard cap may well be to avoid adding a 15th player.

Removing that 15th slot makes Pat Riley‘s task of rounding out a roster all that much more difficult. According to Jackson, all of Yante Maten, Duncan Robinson, Kendrick Nunn and even Udonis Haslem could be competing for Heats’ 13th and 14th roster spots.

Riley’s no stranger to making difficult decisions but with Butler on board and a higher ceiling now within reach, the Heat may still be inclined to add external support, too. Jackson presents DeMarcus Cousins as a possibility.

Jackson notes that the Heat are still exploring trade options and it’s understandable why. Simply consolidating talent could solve both the team’s problems, freeing up a roster slot while potentially adding an impact rotation player.

There’s more from Miami today:

  • Among the consolation prizes for the Lakers if they do end up missing out on Kawhi Leonard could be Heat veteran Goran Dragic. Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel speculates that the 33-year-old could be a good, short-term fit for the squad as it builds out its roster.
  • There’s a chance that Pat Riley may have drafted differently had he known that Jimmy Butler would be on his roster by the end of the summer, but Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel reminds readers that lottery pick Tyler Herro will still have plenty of value as a shooter.
  • If the Heat want to convert Kendrick Nunn‘s standard contract into a two-way deal, they’ll need to do so before August 1, Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel reports. On that day, an additional $150,000 of his contract becomes guaranteed. The collective bargaining agreement forbids teams from converting players with more than $50,000 protection over to two-way deals. Waiving Nunn would expose him to waivers and he may get claimed.

Free Agent Rumors: Holiday, Cousins, Burke, More

Free agent swingman Justin Holiday has received interest from the Lakers, Clippers, Bulls, Raptors, Pacers, Wizards, Hornets, and Cavaliers, league sources tell Michael Scotto of The Athletic (Twitter link).

Given how quickly most of the top players came off the market, Holiday represents one of the more intriguing options available, given his ability to knock down three-pointers (1.8 3PG on 35.4% shooting over the last three years) and defend on the perimeter.

According to Scotto, the Grizzlies are open to the idea of accommodating a sign-and-trade deal involving Holiday, so a team with interest in him could potentially acquire him using a trade exception if it doesn’t want to cut into its mid-level.

Here’s more on a few NBA free agents:

  • Wizards interim head of basketball operations Tommy Sheppard briefly spoke with free agent big man DeMarcus Cousins in Las Vegas, according to Candace Buckner of The Washington Post (Twitter link). A previous report indicated there was virtually no chance of Cousins signing with Washington, and Buckner cautions that the conversation was described as small talk, but she still refers to it as an “interesting development.”
  • The Lakers are in the mix for free agent point guard Trey Burke, according to Marc Berman of The New York Post (Twitter link). Los Angeles still has plenty of roster spots to fill, so it’s not clear how high Burke is on the team’s wish list.
  • Veteran NBA big man Darrell Arthur, who sat out last season after being waived by Phoenix in October, is considering a comeback and is open to continuing his career overseas, tweets Emiliano Carchia of Sportando.
  • ESPN’s Tim MacMahon, Marc J. Spears, and Ohm Youngmisuk spoke to coaches, scouts, and executives at the Utah and California Summer Leagues to get their thoughts on free agency so far. Among the highlights: McMahon writes that a number of rival executives and scouts believe the Rockets dodged a bullet by not landing Jimmy Butler.
  • The Suns have formally renounced their free agent rights to several players, including Dragan Bender, Jamal Crawford, Jimmer Fredette, and Ray Spalding, per RealGM’s transactions log.

Free Agency Notes: Durant, Knicks, Cousins

Kevin Durant‘s decision to go to the Nets was not an easy one to make. Golden State, New York, and Brooklyn were reportedly in contention, but it’s beginning to sound like the two Atlantic Division teams were always the frontrunners, as Mark Berman of The New York Post writes.

There were people in Durant’s camp that wanted him to go to the Knicks, according to Jay Williams (former NBA player and friend of Durant’s). Williams also said that the Knicks trading away Kristaps Porzingis was not a factor in KD’s decision.

Here’s more from around the league:

  • There’s pretty much no chance that the Wizards add DeMarcus Cousins, The Athletic’s Fred Katz writes. Washington brought back Thomas Bryant in free agency and the team is committed to developing him.
  • Tim Bontemps of ESPN.com examines the Knicks strategy this offseason and makes the case that they made the moves possible given that no stars were coming in free agency. New York will have cap flexibility next summer and the team will likely get one more chance to land a top pick in the lottery.
  • The Cavaliers didn’t have the flexibility to make major free-agent signings this offseason, but next summer, the team projects to have the ability to make a big splash, Joe Vardon of The Athletic relays. Cleveland will have upwards of $55MM in cap room, assuming they don’t add any long-term salary before then.

DeMarcus Cousins Changes Agents

DeMarcus Cousins has changed agents, according to Marc Stein of the New York Times (Twitter link). The center will be represented by Jeff Schwartz of Excel Sports.

Cousins is arguably the second-best free agent left unsigned but the market for him hasn’t exactly been robust. Adrian Wojnarowski recently said that it’s possible that the big man will not find a deal worth more than the $5.34MM contract he signed last offseason.

The Warriors inked Cousins to the taxpayer’s mid-level last season and if he signed on with a team this season on a similar deal, he’d see a slight raise. This year’s taxpayer’s mid-level exception is $5.718MM, while the non-taxpayer is $9.258MM.

Cousins could find a team will cap room, though there are not many clubs left with significant available space. The Lakers stand out as a feasible option should they miss out on Kawhi Leonard. Los Angeles has just over $32MM in cap room available.

The Clippers are another team that will have cap room available if they miss out on Leonard. The Knicks were linked to Cousins before free agency as a fallback option but New York opted to spend its budget on Bobby Portis, Julius Randle and an assortment of veterans.

Free Agent Rumors: Kawhi, Bender, Cousins, Mejri

Despite some buzz on social media that Kawhi Leonard is leaning toward the Lakers, the reigning Finals MVP hasn’t reached a decision, tweets Cris Carter of Fox Sports 1. Carter – who has been an unexpectedly plugged-in source on Leonard since the forward’s days in San Antonio – adds that anyone thinking the Lakers have an edge on the Clippers or Raptors would be “wrong.”

Leonard is the last big star available in free agency, and his decision will have a long-lasting impact on all three franchises. Whichever club lands him will be a contender for the NBA title, while the other two teams will be scrambling to fill out their rosters. Leonard still hasn’t given any indication of when he plans to announce his choice.

Here are some more notes on the third day of free agency:

  • Now that the Suns have added Frank Kaminsky, they will part ways with Dragan Bender, according to John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7 (Twitter link). Bender had a disappointing three years in Phoenix after being selected with the fourth pick in the 2016 draft. He is an unrestricted free agent because the Suns declined his fourth-year option before the start of the season.
  • The Warriors can’t make an offer similar to the $6.4MM MLE that landed DeMarcus Cousins last summer, notes Anthony Slater of The Athletic (Twitter link). Golden State is so close to the hard cap that it cannot go much above minimum deals to complete its roster.
  • Salah Mejri was working out today with the Mavericks‘ Summer League players and remains a possibility to re-sign, tweets Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News.
  • As cap space dries up, restricted free agents such as Kelly Oubre, Delon Wright and Tyus Jones may benefit by accepting their teams’ qualifying offers and becoming unrestricted next summer in a weaker free agent class, suggests Bobby Marks of ESPN (Twitter link).