When DeMarcus Cousins first signed with the Golden State Warriors nearly a year ago, everyone assumed that he’d stay just one year. Even in November, head coach Steve Kerr admitted that the Dubs probably wouldn’t be able to retain the four-time All-Star.
After major injuries to pending free agents Klay Thompson and Kevin Durant, Kerr can see a reunion with Cousins as a possibility.
“I think there’s a chance,” Kerr said to reporters on Friday. “I would say that the hope is that frankly that he can do a lot better financially than what we can offer him. But who knows? Every year is different. There are a lot more teams with cap room this summer than last summer. This summer is going to be a wild free agent market. We have to figure out our own situation, particularly with Klay and Kevin and all that shakes out. I can absolutely foresee a place for DeMarcus here if he wanted to come back. It’s just a question of what are his goals, what are out there for him.”
Can the Warriors afford to sign Cousins?
The biggest obstacle for the Warriors is that the CBA only allowed them to offer a modest raise to $6.4 million after he signed for a taxpayer mid-level exception at $5.2 million. Cousins hoped to land a max contract last summer before he tore his Achilles and likely was hoping to reestablish his value enough this season to land one in the coming months.
Cousins’ latest injury will likely scare off teams from committing max-level money to the big man, so he may want another pillow contract for a chance to earn even bigger money next year. The Warriors would certainly be a soft landing spot to give him a chance to win a championship too.
However, it still seems far-fetched that Cousins would settle for that little money, especially since, as Kerr pointed out, so many teams will have cap space.
Several teams, including the Los Angeles Lakers, New York Knicks, Brooklyn Nets and Los Angeles Clippers, are hoping to sign a max player or two — not to mention the Toronto Raptors, Charlotte Hornets and Philadelphia 76ers trying to re-sign their own stars. Not every team can sign a max player, though, so someone will probably have money to speculatively throw at Cousins.
Of course, there’s also a nightmare scenario for the Warriors where they can’t re-sign Thompson or Durant, which would leave them more than $15 million under the cap with plenty of space for Cousins. But Kerr probably doesn’t want to think about that.
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