In not exactly shocking news, Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr admitted Thursday that DeMarcus Cousins’ tenure in the Bay Area will be limited to this season and this season only due to salary cap concerns, according to Logan Murdock of The Mercury News.
Speaking to reporters, Kerr outright said that the team won’t have available money to sign the All-Star center when he hits free agency this offseason. This shouldn’t come as much of a surprise, as the Warriors were only able to sign Cousins to his current one-year, $5.3 million deal because of the discount caused by his Achilles tear last season.
So rather than try to hold on to Cousins, the team’s goal with the center will be simple: win him a ring and make sure he’s expensive for someone else next season.
Steve Kerr on DeMarcus' 1-year deal with the W's:“We made no bones about it when we signed him. This is a 1-year deal and we're not going to have money to sign him next year so we'd like to help him win a championship and sign a great contract somewhere else. That's the reality."
— Logan Murdock (@loganmmurdock) November 1, 2018
This was DeMarcus Cousins’ plan
Cousins was slated to hit free agency last offseason as one the biggest names on the market. A superstar center that had averaged 26.1 points, 11.7 rebounds and 3.9 assists per game over the previous seasons, Cousins wasn’t going to come cheap.
Those plans were derailed when Cousins went down with the dreaded Achilles tear, costing him large chunks of both last season and this season. The 28-year-old also wasn’t certain to be 100 percent when he returned this year.
That, as well as Cousins’ infamous character concerns, were large enough risk factors that no team had a major offer for the center in free agency. Even the Los Angeles Lakers, who essentially spent last offseason with a giant neon sign glowing over them that said they had a vacancy for superstars, passed on him.
So, naturally, Cousins opted to go for a one-year deal in which he could re-establish his value. And what team better than the Warriors, with whom Cousins will be able to spend as much time as he pleases getting healthy, then create a starting lineup composed entirely of 2017-18 All-Stars when he returns. No pressure and as good a guarantee for a championship as you will find in professional sports.
Cousins nowhere near the Warriors’ top priority
Even if the Warriors could sign multiple players to max deals and Cousins returned at 100 percent, he still wouldn’t be the team’s top priority in free agency this offseason. He probably wouldn’t even be their second priority.
Klay Thompson is slated to hit free agency for the first time in his career and reportedly won’t be giving the Warriors a discount. Kevin Durant will be able to decline his player option and hit free agency as the top player on the market. The Warriors are going to care a lot more about keeping at least one of those guys on the team than Cousins.
So, assuming he shows even a fraction of his past production, Cousins will find another team next season. That should be good news for the rest of the NBA, or at least one gentleman out there.
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