DeMarcus Cousins was expected to be one of the most sought-after free agents this offseason in NBA free agency. Unfortunately, a torn Achilles this season has made his free agency value plummet in a big way. He is now facing uncharted territory and may not end up getting a max contract this offseason.
According to a report from Zach Lowe of ESPN, the Pelicans are considering offering Cousins a shorter contract that would not be a max deal.
Before the Achilles injury, Cousins seemed to be on track to get a max contract extension. New Orleans would love to have Cousins back with Anthony Davis in the front-court next season. Both players feed well off of each other and the Pelicans appear to be becoming contenders in the Western Conference.
Throughout the course of the 2017-18 NBA season, Cousins averaged 25.2 points per game to go along with 12.9 rebounds and 1.6 blocks per game. Cousins was putting together one of the best all-around seasons of his career. New Orleans continued playing well even without him with Davis leading the way and ended up sweeping the Portland Trail Blazers in the first round of the NBA Playoffs.
Looking ahead at the upcoming offseason, there are quite a few teams that could be interested in offering Cousins a solid deal, but very few that would consider a maximum contract.It will be interesting to see where Cousins ends up signing. Returning to New Orleans certainly seems like a good option for him, but teams like the Los Angeles Lakers and Dallas Mavericks might show serious interest in Cousins. Those last two teams might be willing to pay Cousins a bit more than teams like the Pelicans.
At 27 years of age, Cousins still has plenty of time to turn things around. Achilles injuries are no joke to basketball players, but many have come back strong and continued on to big things after recovering. Cousins should be able to get back to being one of the most dominant post players in the league.
Expect to see quite a few teams send offers to Cousins this coming offseason. Many will be for less than he is looking for, but Cousins is going to have plenty of interest. Perhaps signing a one-year deal to prove himself once again will be the route that Cousins takes.