When DeMarcus Cousins signed a one-year deal with the Golden State Warriors last summer, he called it his “chess move.” Cousins was still recovering from the torn Achilles he suffered with the New Orleans Pelicans, and despite being an unrestricted free agent, he was receiving very little interest in the market. So Cousins signed with the Warriors for the midlevel exception at $5.3 million, the idea being that he’d rehab and play for a potential championship, then hit the free agency market again the following summer, where, fully healthy, a team would offer him the type of contract he’d hoped for in the summer of 2018.
But you know what they say about best laid plans. After returning from his Achilles injury to play in 30 regular season games for the Warriors, averaging 16.3 points and 8.2 rebounds per night, Cousins suffered a quad injury in the playoffs going for a loose ball in the Warriors first round series against the Los Angeles Clippers. He’d return for the NBA Finals, but played sparingly as Golden State fell to the Toronto Raptors in six games. Now, the market he’d hoped would be there for his services this summer has apparently dried up.
During an appearance on SportsCenter, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski told Scott Van Pelt that there’s virtually no market at all for Cousins right now.
“There’s not a market for (DeMarcus Cousins. I think he hoped that some big market teams would strike out, they’d have cap space and he could get a one-year, $12, $15, $18, $20 million deal. That’s not happening,” Woj said. “The midlevel exception he got in Golden State last year? I don’t think that’s there.”
This can’t be what Cousins imagined his future would look like when he made the decision to sign in the Bay area on a one year deal. There are now only four teams with over $10 million in cap space and seemingly plenty of free agents ahead of him in line to get deals once Kawhi Leonard signs and the second wave can get taken care of. Cousins showed he can still play in bursts, but teams clearly still have questions about what he can be long-term.