Despite coming off a quad injury that sidelined him in the Golden State Warriors’ first-round playoff series against the Los Angeles Clippers, DeMarcus Cousins is playing through pain as he tries to help the Warriors win their third straight NBA Finals. But with Golden State down 3-1 against the Toronto Raptors heading into Game 5 on Monday, the chances of Cousins winning his first championship in his nine-year NBA career aren’t looking too good at the moment. Could this force “Boogie” to return to the team he played for immediately before moving to the Bay Area last summer?
Even in the first few days following his surprising decision to sign with the Warriors in the 2018 offseason, many observers had expected Cousins to be a one-year rental for Golden State. There have been some rumors here and there suggesting that Cousins could rejoin the Pelicans in free agency this summer, and the latest — courtesy of Fansided’s Pelican Debrief — suggests that this may just happen if the team trades superstar big man Anthony Davis as expected.
As explained by Pelican Debrief’s Christopher Dodson, DeMarcus Cousins’ recent struggles with injuries could compromise his value as he prepares to return to the free agent market next month. This, he wrote, could stoke the Pelicans’ interest, as the team could use a “cost-effective” big man who can haul down rebounds and space the floor. While Dodson cautioned that Cousins might not return to his past All-Star level of play, he stressed that this is another factor that could make the 28-year-old forward/center financially attractive to teams like New Orleans.
Talking about hypothetical contract terms, Pelican Debrief speculated that New Orleans could sign Cousins on a two-year, $14 million deal, pointing out that the team would be able to afford such a contract if Davis gets shipped elsewhere.
As further noted, Cousins’ success as a Pelican — assuming he signs with the team this summer — would depend on his maturity, and whether he could accept guard Jrue Holiday as the “heart” of the team and prospective first overall draft pick Zion Williamson as the “future.”
“Any malcontent behavior would show a lack of awareness from Cousins. He could be traded off, or waived around the league like Carmelo Anthony. Cousins would be costing himself a chance to rehabilitate himself with one of the most respected NBA minds league-wide in [Pelicans trainer] Aaron Nelson.”
Playing just 30 games for the Warriors in the last regular season, DeMarcus Cousins averaged 16.3 points, 8.2 rebounds, 3.6 assists, 1.3 steals, and 1.5 blocks in 25.7 minutes per game, per his Basketball-Reference player page. These numbers paled in comparison to his numbers in 48 games with the Pelicans in the 2017-18 campaign, as he averaged 25.2 points, 12.9 rebounds, 5.4 assists, and 1.6 steals and blocks per game before his season ended prematurely with an Achilles tendon injury.