The New Orleans Pelicans were a threat to be reckoned with in the Western Conference last season with Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins leading the way. Unfortunately, Cousins ended up going down with a torn Achilles that forced him to miss the playoffs and the Pelicans were easily eliminated from the playoffs in the first round by the Golden State Warriors.
Following the season, head coach Alvin Gentry made it clear that he wanted Cousins back next season. Cousins, on the other hand, has thrown a couple hints out that he might not come back to the Pelicans. He is looking for max money still and there will be a team or two willing to throw a nice contract at him.
According to a report from Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, the Pelicans would like to re-sign Cousins to a short-term contract. He could easily earn a big long-term contract with New Orleans if he can prove that he is back to full strength following the Achilles injury.
During the regular season with the Pelicans, Cousins ended up averaging 25.2 points per game to go along with 12.9 rebounds and 1.6 blocks. He shot 47.0 percent from the floor overall and knocked down 35.4 percent of his three-point attempts.
Not only has Cousins become one of the best all-around big men on the court, but he has also improved his attitude away from the game. During his time with the Sacramento Kings, Cousins developed a reputation of having a bad demeanor. Now, he has become more of a leader and has become a much better teammate.
At 27 years old, bringing Cousins back would be a huge win for the Pelicans. There may be concern about his injury, but Cousins has been adamant that he will be back stronger than ever and New Orleans should show some confidence in him.
There is no telling what kind of interest will be shown in Cousins this offseason. He could receive a max offer or other teams might feel the same way that New Orleans feels. If he receives a competitive offer from the Pelicans for one or two years, he should return and continue playing alongside Anthony Davis.
Expect to see Cousins explore all of his options this offseason. He still feels that he is one of the best players in the league and won’t want to settle for a short-term deal with smaller money.
New Orleans is going to offer Cousins a one- or two-year deal, but whether the money will be enough to convince him to come back or not is the question.