NBA Rumors: DeMarcus Cousins Open To Return To Sacramento, But Kings Aren’t Interested, Per ‘The Athletic’

DeMarcus Cousins of the Golden State Warriors smiles during warmups prior to Game 1 of the 2019 NBA Finals.
Gregory Shamus / Getty Images

With several hours having passed since free agency kicked off on Sunday night, a lot of big moves are all set to become official in the coming days. Just as recently rumored, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant are headed to the Brooklyn Nets, with Durant arriving via a sign-and-trade deal that would send D’Angelo Russell to the Golden State Warriors. Kemba Walker, who had spent his first eight NBA seasons with the Charlotte Hornets, is now headed to the Boston Celtics, where he will be replacing Irving as the team’s starting point guard. Meanwhile, there are a number of big names, including erstwhile Warriors center DeMarcus Cousins, who have yet to find a new home in free agency.

Although Cousins reportedly has his share of suitors around the NBA, a recent report from The Athletic (as cited by Sporting News) suggests that the 28-year-old former All-Star is open to the idea of returning to the team that drafted him fifth overall in 2010 — the Sacramento Kings. However, The Athletic’s sources noted that the feeling isn’t mutual between both sides, as the Kings supposedly have no interest at the moment in bringing the talented, yet injury-prone big man back to the organization.

As the Kings are planning to focus on the growth of their young core players and also promoting an uptempo style of play in the coming 2019-20 season, the team reportedly sees Cousins as a less than ideal fit for their current vision. Furthermore, it was noted that Sacramento has been avoiding “big personalities” like Cousins since he was traded to the New Orleans Pelicans midway through the 2016-17 NBA season.

“If you’re talking about the Sacramento Kings, we know exactly how we’re going to play,” said Sacramento general manager Vlade Divac, as quoted by Sporting News. “Uptempo, athleticism and shooting. The big guy has to check all those boxes for us to be somebody we consider to draft (or sign).”

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In addition to the above factors, it appears that the Kings have already done something to address the vacancy that could be left by unrestricted free agent center Willie Cauley-Stein. According to a report from NBC Sports Bay Area, the Kings have come to terms with Dewayne Dedmon — most recently with the Atlanta Hawks — on a contract that will pay him $40 million over the next three years.

Due to an Achilles tear he suffered in January 2018, DeMarcus Cousins’ market value took a hit when he entered free agency that summer and accepted a one-year, $5.3 million contract with the Golden State Warriors. As the Warriors can offer no more than another one-year contract — this time worth $6.8 million — The Undefeated reported that seven teams are at least slightly interested in signing Cousins this summer, with the New York Knicks, Los Angeles Lakers, and Los Angeles Clippers reportedly in the mix.