New Orleans Pelicans superstar DeMarcus Cousins is set to become an unrestricted free agent in the upcoming offseason. Before he suffered a torn Achilles, the Pelicans looked determined to give him a maximum contract extension. However, everything changed when “Boogie” went down with a season-ending injury, and the Pelicans performed better without him in the Western Conference Playoffs.
With the Pelicans unlikely to give him a huge payday, there is a growing belief that DeMarcus Cousins could choose to part ways with Anthony Davis this summer. The speculations about his potential departure in New Orleans heated up when he decided to unfollow the team’s official account on Instagram. When asked about his recent action, Cousins just replied, “cause I’m grown.”
According to Oleh Kosel of SB Nation’s The Bird Writes, this could be a major hint that the days of DeMarcus Cousins with the Pelicans are already numbered. Cousins may not be happy with the recent news he’s hearing regarding his impending free agency. Last month, Zach Lowe of ESPN reported that though the Pelicans are still interested in bringing Cousins back, they only plan to offer him two- or three-year deal at less than the max.
As of now, the Pelicans may be thinking that it would be risky for them to give Cousins a max deal. Only a few players who suffered the same injury as Cousins have returned to their 100 percent health. Aside from his injury, Lowe believes the Pelicans’ remarkable performance in the playoffs, even without Cousins, may have contributed to their decision not to give him a maximum contract.
Pelicans Head Coach Alvin Gentry still wants DeMarcus Cousins on his roster next season, but General Manager Dell Demps is non-committal about re-signing the superstar center, especially if he demands more than they could offer. If Cousins and the Pelicans won’t come to an agreement in the upcoming free agency, several NBA teams will surely grab the opportunity to add the big man to their team. There are only a few teams in the league who are expected to have enough salary cap space to offer Cousins a maximum contract.
Most of those teams are still in the middle of the rebuilding process, or want to take a chance at building a title-contending team. However, title contenders who don’t have the salary cap flexibility to sign Cousins may consider engaging in a sign-and-trade deal with the Pelicans in the upcoming offseason.