Knicks may offer 'considerable one-year' deal to DeMarcus Cousins if they miss Durant, per report

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OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA - JUNE 13:  Kawhi Leonard #2 of the Toronto Raptors and DeMarcus Cousins #0 of the Golden State Warriors battle for the ball late in the game during Game Six of the 2019 NBA Finals at ORACLE Arena on June 13, 2019 in Oakland, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Kawhi Leonard and DeMarcus Cousins battle for the ball late in the game during Game 6 of the 2019 NBA Finals. (Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

The New York Knicks have their sights set on Kevin Durant when free agency begins later this week, but what happens if they fail to land the prized forward?

If the team fails in its quest for Durant, then they will turn toward DeMarcus Cousins. According to Marc Stein of the New York Times, the team is “weighing the prospect of extending a considerable one-year offer” to Cousins.

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As Stein notes, this doesn’t mean that the Knicks are giving up on the chase for Durant, but rather a clarification of the team’s plans if they miss out on him and other marquee free agents.

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Cousins had an up-and-down 18-19 season

After tearing his left Achilles tendon in January 2018, Cousins signed a one-year “prove-it” deal with the Golden State Warriors for $5.3 million. At the time, Cousins told Marc Spears that he had no “significant contract offers.”

Cousins did not return until a year later in 2019 and had a largely up-and-down season with the Warriors.

His return lasted a couple of months before he tore his left quadriceps muscle in a first-round playoff game against the Los Angeles Clippers in April. The injury eliminated Cousins for much of the Warriors’ playoff run. He did not return until Game 1 of the 2019 NBA Finals.

Despite the injury-plagued season, Cousins averaged 16.3 points, 8.2 rebounds and 3.6 assists in 30 games played.

The stats were a far cry from his double-double average of 25.2 points and 12.9 rebounds in the season prior as a member of the New Orleans Pelicans, but represented a chance to return to form with a full offseason of training.

‘I’m open [to returning to Warriors]’

Following the Warriors’ NBA Finals loss to the Toronto Raptors, Cousins told reporters that he would be open to a return.

“I’m open,” Cousins said. “We’ll see what happens.”

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Warriors head coach Steve Kerr also left that possibility open.

"I think there's a chance," Kerr told reporters. "I would say that the hope is that frankly he can do a lot better financially than what we could offer him. But who knows. Every year is different.”

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If things don’t go the Knicks way then the Warriors could find themselves outbid for Cousins’ services.

The NBA free agency period begins Sunday.

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