The Philadelphia 76ers are headed in the right direction this season with a possible playoff berth. However, it’s the offseason that will determine if the process has really been worth it. While most teams will be on the LeBron James and Paul George hunt, the Sixers could land one of the biggest fish in DeMarcus Cousins.
Yes, the same Cousins who went down with a season-ending injury earlier this year. But look closely and do so with an open mind.
With Cousins’ injury, two things were able to happen that will work in the Sixers’ favor. One was the Pelicans were not able to trade Cousins as reported by numerous sites. Now, New Orleans will have no choice but to let Cousins walk with no compensation.
The second scenario in the Sixers’ favor is money. While the Sixers will have a ton, the contract for Cousins may not put a dent in their LeBron hunt. Cousins is an All-Star player, however, the recovery time for his Achilles tear is a required 10 months at best with no guarantee he will ever be the same according to Forbes. The earliest time Cousins may be able to hit the floor again for any team will be around December or January 2019. The question is; will there be any teams willing to give Cousins a try? Of course. But how many can dangle championship hopes and a young roster like the Sixers can?
The Pelicans can come calling along with a few others, but who can offer Cousins a Sixers’ like package? Maybe the Golden State Warriors can offer him something great, but for how long? If Bryan Colangelo were smart, the moment he can reach out to Cousins about a possible deal, he should do it. It’s always best to be the first to the party to let that player know how serious you are.
Selling the Sixers to Cousins should be a breeze. All Colangelo has to do is rattle of a few names. Imagine a frontcourt that features Cousins, Embiid, and Dario Saric or even LeBron. In the backcourt, there’s Ben Simmons and possibly Markelle Fultz. But that’s not it. The brilliance of this all is that the Sixers could have close to $40 million in cap space to make a LeBron and Cousins signing work.
James will cost the Sixers close to $35 million. But this is the gift and curse of the Cousins’ injury. While DeMarcus was set to get a max deal this offseason, his Achilles injury will derail that for at least another year. We will call this the play and prove contract. No team will be willing to pay him what he’s worth (pre-injury), instead, they will go for the bargain price. Think about it. How much would you be willing to pay a player coming off one of the worst sports injuries and one that will have him out for at least the first two or three months of the 2018-19 season?
Some team will take a risk on Cousins just because of his name. Why can’t the Sixers be that team? Colangelo can dangle the possibility of a Cousins, Embiid, and LeBron frontcourt with Simmons and Fultz in the backcourt. No other team can offer that. The offseason game is all about risk and what team has taken more than the Sixers over the last few years?