Multiple news outlets on Monday evening reported that the back-to-back reigning NBA champions have agreed to terms with free agent center DeMarcus Cousins. The former New Orleans Pelican will sign for the $5.3 million mid-level exception — a one-year deal — according to ESPN.
Yahoo Sports was the first to report the agreement.
The 6-foot-11, 270-pound Cousins — one of the best big men in the league — will provide a cost-effective, athletic, shooting center — if he can stay healthy — and will get to chase not only his first career championship, but his first career playoff appearance. He will also give the Warriors their fifth All-Star, something no other team has had since the 1975-76 Boston Celtics.
In 48 games with the Pelicans last season, Cousins averaged 25.2 points, 12.9 rebounds and 5.4 assists, shooting 35.4 percent from three-point range. The former Sacramento King then tore his left Achilles tendon diving for a ball against the Houston Rockets on Jan. 26, but was still selected to the Feb. 18, 2018 All-Star Game in Los Angeles, his fourth selection.
Cousins’s addition means that the Warriors could conceivably have five All-Stars on the floor at the same time, including Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and Kevin Durant.
Cousins previously teamed with Curry and Klay Thompson on Team USA during the 2014 FIBA World Cup, and teamed with Thompson, Kevin Durant and Draymond Green on the 2016 Olympic team in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil. Both teams won gold.
Cousins had previously made as much as $18.06 million last season with the Pelicans, and almost $17 million the season before that, split between New Orleans and Sacramento.
“We are not equipped with a lot of money,” general manager Bob Myers said on June 25, after the NBA Draft. “We’d like to win some ties. If we can offer equal compensation, maybe we get players that want to be part of our environment.”
The fact that Cousins is taking far less money shows the power of Golden State’s championship allure, but it may also show that teams weren’t keen on a player that may not take the floor until well after the start of the season.
According to video on his Twitter, dated June 23, Cousins has begun modified basketball activities, including shooting. His rehab should be in its later stages by the time for the Warriors start training camp in late September.
Cousins would give Golden State yet another shooter, and, as Curry put it on Twitter, “the 3rd splash Brother”. Cousins is a career 33.8 percent shooter from beyond the arc, but over the last two seasons, he’s shot 35.8 percent from three. Last season, he hit 104 three-pointers in 48 games before his injury.
Cousins, 27, will join Thompson (28), Green (28), Durant (29) and Stephen Curry (30) as part of a team that is favored to win its fourth title in five years, and its third in a row.