The New Orleans Pelicans are switching their focus to the offseason after being eliminated from the NBA Playoffs by the Golden State Warriors last night. Going up against the Warriors was as close to a “death sentence” as it could get for the Pelicans at this point in time, but they could come back as a serious contender next season with the right offseason moves.
Looking back on the Pelicans’ season, there are quite a few reasons to be excited for the future. Anthony Davis continued to improve and is now viewed as a top-five NBA player by most. New Orleans was also able to stay in the playoffs even after the torn Achilles that DeMarcus Cousins suffered.
According to head coach Alvin Gentry via the Times-Picayune, the Pelicans would like to bring Cousins back this offseason in free agency if possible.
“Obviously the guy is averaging 26 points and 12 rebounds. You’d like to have him on your team. I think that goes without saying.”
Coming back from a torn ACL is never an easy task for an NBA player. It is one of the worst injuries that a basketball player can suffer, but Cousins has been attacking his rehab and is out to prove that he will be able to get back to the superstar level that he was playing at in the 2017-18 season for New Orleans.
He averaged 25.2 points per game to go along with 12.9 rebounds and 1.9 blocks in 2017-18.
New Orleans is going to have some competition when it comes to signing Cousins this offseason. He is one of the best free agents available and is one of the best centers in the game when he’s healthy. Those reasons alone should make quite a few teams come calling.
Before the injury, Cousins was projected to be headed towards a maximum contract. Now, it appears that his value has dropped a bit. There may be teams still willing to offer him a max deal, but it wouldn’t be surprising to see him end up signing a one-year deal to prove that he’s back to full health.
At 27 years of age, Cousins is in the prime of his career. He fit perfectly alongside Davis, and the Pelicans would be wise to do everything in their power to bring him back.
Expect to hear Cousins name mentioned in a good number of rumors throughout the early stages of free agency. New Orleans certainly has a good chance to bring him back, but other teams are going to put on a full-court press trying to convince him to leave.