DeMarcus Cousins is expected to be one of the most talked about free agents this offseason. After going down with a torn Achilles this season, Cousins is also going to be one of the most intriguing free agents to follow at the NBA season winds down. At one point, he was expected to receive a maximum contract, but now he may have to settle for less of a deal and a shorter term.
There are quite a few teams that would love to sign Cousins this summer. He is one of the most talented all-around big men in the NBA and has shown a lot of development, especially from an attitude perspective over the past couple of years.
The New Orleans Pelicans have already talked about wanting to re-sign Cousins, but they might not be willing to make an aggressive offer to retain him. Cousins has enjoyed his time in New Orleans and might be more willing to take a bit of a pay cut to remain with the Pelicans.
During the 2017-18 season with the Pelicans, Cousins averaged 25.2 points, 12.9 rebounds, and 1.6 blocks per game. He shot 47.0 percent from the field overall and knocked down 35.4 percent of his three-point attempts. Those numbers show exactly why Cousins is going to be a valuable addition for whoever signs him.
One team that should strongly consider making an aggressive push to sign Cousins this offseason is the New York Knicks.
At 27-years-old, the Knicks simply cannot afford to let Cousins’ injury impact their interest in him. They are trying to build a championship contender and adding Cousins to play alongside Kristaps Porzingis would be exactly the kind of move that can help them get there. David Fizdale would also be an ideal coach for Cousins.
Signing him to a max deal may worry some fans, but Cousins has a chip on his shoulder and is attacking rehab as he tries to prove that he is still an NBA superstar. That chip will help Cousins come back even stronger than before.
New York has already put together a decent amount of young talent around Porzingis. Supporting pieces like Tim Hardaway, Jr., Emmanuel Mudiay, and Frank Ntilikina are going to be excellent role players for the Knicks. Adding a second star like Cousins could help them immediately become a playoff-caliber team.
Cousins has been linked to quite a few different teams, including the Pelicans, Los Angeles Lakers, and Dallas Mavericks. If the Knicks want to sign Cousins, they will need to pursue him aggressively immediately to start the free agency period.
LeBron James is also a name that has come up as a player that the Knicks will target this offseason. They will likely have a chance to talk with James, but they are not considered one of the top landing spots for “King James” at this point. He is expected to consider the Cleveland Cavaliers, Lakers, Houston Rockets, and Philadelphia 76ers the most.
That leaves the Knicks with the options of trading for Kawhi Leonard, targeting Paul George, or signing Cousins. Enes Kanter is also a free agent this offseason and the Knicks may consider trying to bring him back, although signing both Kanter and Cousins is not likely.
All of that being said, it will be interesting to see what the Knicks do this offseason. Cousins may not end up being a target for New York, but he should be. Cousins to New York would make a lot of sense for both parties and would likely be a move that would help the Knicks get back into contention.