Earlier this week, many NBA fans were shocked when DeMarcus Cousins signed a one-year contract for the veteran’s minimum to join the Golden State Warriors for the 2018-19 season. While most of the talk surrounding Cousins is related to the chances of the Warriors dominating the NBA landscape in 2018-19, or why other teams such as the Los Angeles Lakers weren’t able to nab his services, a new report has shed some light on what might have led to Cousins’ decision not to remain with the New Orleans Pelicans.
Earlier on Thursday, a report from the Sporting News cited WWL-TV sports anchor Andrew Doak, who tweeted that Pelicans big man Anthony Davis “helped see Cousins out the door.” While Doak said this was because Davis was happier with the way the Pelicans played while Cousins was out with a torn Achilles tendon, the New Orleans-based reporter added that Davis could have spoken to management and that the team’s general manager, Dell Demps, “would have listened” and tried to re-sign Cousins.
Considering DeMarcus Cousins’ previous reputation as a chaotic presence in the locker room, Doak also alleged that Anthony Davis liked the locker room environment better while Cousins was injured.
At the time of his injury, the 27-year-old Cousins was posting up his usual big numbers for New Orleans, averaging 25.2 points, 12.9 rebounds, and 5.4 assists per game as the Pelicans compiled a 27-21 record. While publications such as Bleacher Report feared the worst following the injury, the Pelicans went 21-13 without Cousins, finishing 48-34 as the sixth seed in the Western Conference. New Orleans then swept the third-seeded Portland Trail Blazers in the first round of the 2018 playoffs, before losing 4-1 to the eventual champion Golden State Warriors in the second round.
Lost in all of this is Anthony Davis’ role in free agency.
Source w/ team said if AD wanted Cousins back, GM Demps would have listened.
Davis liked the style the Pels started to play without Cousins, and he also liked the environment in the locker room more with Boogie absent.
— Andrew Doak (@AndrewDoak_WWL) July 3, 2018
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) July 4, 2018
Meanwhile, the Sporting News noted that Doak’s comments about the Anthony Davis-DeMarcus Cousins situation are in line with previous rumors that Davis was the one who convinced Pelicans management to sign Julius Randle after the Los Angeles Lakers renounced their rights to him. Randle, who averaged 16.1 points and 8.0 rebounds for the Lakers in 2017-18, is expected to replace Cousins as the Pelicans’ starting power forward in the upcoming season.
The Sporting News also opined that with things seemingly “[working] out in the end” for all involved parties, the 25-year-old Davis is now the Pelicans’ “unquestioned leader and star.” Davis averaged 28.1 points, 11.1 rebounds, and 2.6 blocked shots for New Orleans and was named first-team All-NBA for the third time in the 2017-18 season.