When DeMarcus Cousins signed a one-year, $5.3 million contract with the Golden State Warriors earlier this year, many fans predicted that he would merely be a one-year “rental” who would return to the free agent market in the summer of 2019 and seek out a more lucrative, long-term deal. This was essentially confirmed by Warriors head coach Steve Kerr, who spoke to the Mercury News‘ Logan Murdock on Thursday afternoon to address the situation and discuss Cousins’ progress as he continues to recover from an Achilles tendon injury that prematurely ended his 2017-18 season.
Given how recent reports have suggested that Cousins’ injury rehab has been encouraging thus far, Kerr set the expectations of Warriors fans hoping to see “Boogie” make his return to the court sooner rather than later. The championship-winning coach stressed that he doesn’t want fans to think that the All-Star center is “close to coming back,” as it still might be a while before he’s truly ready to play an actual game.
While Kerr acknowledged that DeMarcus Cousins could bring a versatile skill set to the Golden State Warriors through his outside shooting and passing, he added that he’s accepted the “reality” that the team probably won’t have the salary cap space to re-sign him in the summer of 2019.
“We made no bones about it when we signed him,” said Kerr.
“This is a one-year deal and we’re not going to have money to sign him next year so we’d like to help him win a championship and sign a great contract somewhere else. That’s the reality.”
Steve Kerr knows DeMarcus Cousins won't be a Warrior next season: "We're not going to have money to sign him next year so we'd like to help him win a championship" https://t.co/BfGkBculTG pic.twitter.com/pcZtkWVaJK— Complex (@Complex) November 2, 2018
Despite Kerr’s comments, there still might be a small chance Cousins will continue playing for the Warriors beyond the 2018-19 NBA season. Complex wrote that the team could hypothetically keep Cousins around if Klay Thompson or Kevin Durant choose to sign with another team in the 2019 offseason, thereby changing the team’s makeup, but still giving them a fighting chance of winning even more NBA championships.
As noted by Bleacher Report, the Warriors, who currently sit atop the Western Conference with an 8-1 record, still do not have a definite timeline for Cousins’ return. However, the 28-year-old former Sacramento Kings and New Orleans Pelicans big man has remained optimistic despite the challenges he goes through while recovering from his injury. In September, he told ESPN that he’s “feeling a lot better” than he was shortly after he tore his Achilles in the last week of January, adding that he has not experienced any setbacks that could prevent him from making a successful return.