After suffering a quad injury in the first round of this year’s NBA playoffs, Golden State Warriors center DeMarcus Cousins wasn’t quite able to rebuild his market value like many league observers had expected. Still, he put up good numbers in limited playing time in the 2018-19 regular season, and rumors now suggest that the New York Knicks could be targeting him as a free agent signing this summer after losing out on soon-to-be Los Angeles Lakers big man Anthony Davis.
In a report published Tuesday, Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated focused on the Knicks’ “change in culture” behind team president Steve Mills, general manager Scott Perry, and head coach David Fizdale and how they hope to put together a championship-caliber team despite their recent inability to make the playoffs. While Spears noted that the Knicks are hoping to acquire some of the top free agents this summer, including Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, Kawhi Leonard, and Kemba Walker, he added that there are a few second-tier free agents who are “on the Knicks’ radar,” including Cousins.
“We are going to have the opportunity to meet with the guys we want to meet with,” Mills was quoted as saying, though he declined to go into detail or mention any specific names.
DeMarcus Cousins signed a one-year, $5.3 million contract with the Golden State Warriors in the summer of 2018, months after he suffered a season-ending Achilles tear while playing for the New Orleans Pelicans. Per Basketball-Reference, Cousins averaged 16.3 points, 8.2 rebounds, 3.6 assists, 1.3 steals, and 1.5 blocks for the Warriors, despite seeing action in just 25.7 minutes per game. He also played in a career-low 30 games last season, having sat out the first few months of the 2018-19 season while recovering from his Achilles injury.
As noted by NBC Sports Bay Area, Cousins suffered a significant setback when he went down with a quad injury in Game 2 of the Warriors’ first-round playoff series versus the Los Angeles Clippers. While he was able to return in time for the NBA Finals, where Golden State lost in six games to the Toronto Raptors, Cousins looked “overmatched at times” as he frequently struggled to regain his form.
Given the two “major” leg injuries he’s suffered so far, NBC Sports Bay Area speculated that there’s only a small chance Cousins will get the substantially bigger payday he wanted upon his return to free agency. However, the outlet also explained that the Warriors won’t be able to offer him much more than what he earned last season — per the terms of the NBA’s current Collective Bargaining Agreement, the maximum amount of money Golden State can offer this summer would be $6.4 million per year.