Following DeMarcus Cousins’ surprising decision to sign a one-year contract with the Golden State Warriors last summer, the general expectation from fans was that he wouldn’t last beyond that one season with the team. At the time he joined the Warriors, Cousins was still recovering from a torn Achilles tendon that prematurely ended his 2017-18 campaign with the New Orleans Pelicans, and this season was seen by many as a chance for him to regain his form with a championship contender. This, in turn, was perceived as something that could help him earn a more lucrative deal once he re-enters free agency this summer.
With Cousins now expected to miss the rest of the 2019 playoffs after tearing his left quad in Game 2 of the Warriors’ first-round series against the Los Angeles Clippers, a new report from Warriors Wire suggests that re-signing with Golden State in the coming offseason might be a viable option after all for the 28-year-old big man. As explained by the publication’s Yossi Gozlan, Cousins was once considered worthy of a maximum contract prior to his Achilles injury, but still had a chance of signing a contract worth $8 to $14 million per year in the 2019 free agency period based on his play in the 2018-19 regular season.
According to Gozlan, Cousins’ latest injury, which came without any contact on the same leg where he had previously torn his Achilles tendon, could seriously compromise his value as a free agent heading into the offseason.
“It is no question that when Cousins plays, he is one of the league’s best offensive centers,” Gozlan continued. “But with his durability now a question mark, teams that were interested in him this summer may hold back on their contract offers, even if he makes a full recovery in time for the start of the 2019-20 regular season.”
Report: DeMarcus Cousins is "expected to miss" the rest of the playoffs, but there's "faint optimism" he could return if the Warriors reach the NBA Finals https://t.co/qKTZAYsn3M pic.twitter.com/7cxgyTJzwp— Warriors on NBCS (@NBCSWarriors) April 16, 2019
Assuming opposing teams hesitate on signing DeMarcus Cousins to a rich long-term contract this summer, Gozlan predicted that the former All-NBA Second Team forward/center might have to reconsider his plan to go “one-and-done” with the Golden State Warriors. He said that it’s now a “real possibility” for Cousins to re-sign with the Warriors, also keeping in mind that the team is about to enter a very important offseason where they may have to make some key personnel decisions. These decisions are likely to involve incoming free agents Klay Thompson and Kevin Durant, the latter of whom has widely been rumored to be considering leaving Golden State this summer.
Crunching the financial numbers, Gozlan noted that the Warriors will only be able to re-sign Cousins to a four-year contract worth $27.5 million, given how the big man’s incoming status as a “Non-Bird” free agent limits Golden State to giving him a 120 percent raise. He added that the team would also need to decide whether he’s worth the risk of keeping around due to his recurring injuries.
In any case, Warriors Wire’s Gozlan speculated that Cousins is most likely to sign another one-year, $6.4 million contract if he chooses to remain in Golden State, as this deal could end up being the “most beneficial” for both parties involved.