The Golden State Warriors headed into the 2018-19 NBA season as the heavy favorite to take home the Larry O’Brien Trophy. After winning back-to-back NBA championship titles, the Warriors didn’t only retain their core of Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Kevin Durant, and Draymond Green, but they also managed to upgrade their roster with the acquisition of All-Star center DeMarcus Cousins in the recent free agency. If they remain healthy throughout the seasons, the Warriors could enter the Western Conference Playoffs 2019 with a starting lineup featuring five NBA All-Stars.
Despite the improvements made by other contenders in the 2018 NBA offseason, it is still hard to see a team that could beat the Warriors in a best-of-seven series. As of now, most people will definitely agree that the Warriors’ path to their third consecutive NBA championship title is smoother compared to the last three years. However, when the season is over, the Warriors will be needing to make a tough decision as three of their core players, Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson, and DeMarcus Cousins, are all expected to become unrestricted free agents.
According to Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report, Warriors General Manager Bob Myers has received a go-signal from the ownership to give any offer to their incoming free agents to keep their group together. Durant and Thompson are both eligible for a huge payday, but since the Warriors only have Cousins’ non-Bird Rights, they can only offer him $6.4 million. Among the Warriors’ free agents, Pincus believes that Cousins “appears to be the likeliest” to leave, and if he remains healthy and regains his All-Star form, the Los Angeles Lakers could try to sign him in the 2019 NBA free agency.
“If the Lakers give up on Davis and their top choices in free agency (such as Kawhi Leonard, Durant and Thompson) go elsewhere, they would have to change gears. If Cousins returns to his past form, they may prioritize him over other potential targets like Jimmy Butler, Kyrie Irving, Kemba Walker, Nikola Vucevic, Marc Gasol and Khris Middleton. Before Cousins signed with the Warriors, former Cleveland Cavaliers general manager David Griffin said James is a big fan of the way Cousins plays basketball.”
DeMarcus Cousins watched highlights of himself on the darkest days of his Achilles rehab. He still thinks about his partnership with Anthony Davis. Inside Boogie’s rehab, mind, big-picture vision, and his truths on free agency. https://t.co/XRtSw40zqa
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) January 22, 2019
Since the successful acquisition of LeBron James, Lakers President of Basketball Operations Magic Johnson and General Manager Rob Pelinka revealed that they are not done yet in upgrading their roster. The Lakers purposely filled their roster with one-year contracts to maintain their salary cap flexibility for the summer of 2019. DeMarcus Cousins will undeniably be a great addition to the Lakers, especially knowing the fact that JaVale McGee and Tyson Chandler will both become unrestricted free agents after the 2018-19 NBA season.
Cousins will give the Lakers a very reliable scoring option next to LeBron James as well as a quality rim protector, rebounder, and a big man who can knock down shots from beyond the arc. Regarding the contract, Pincus suggested that the Lakers could offer “Boogie” a four-year, $140.6 million deal or a one-year, $32.7 million contract.