By C.J. Peterson
Special to S.F. Examiner
OAKLAND — Even though won’t be actually playing in the game, the Golden State Warriors want to make a statement win for their newly acquired big man, Demarcus “Boogie” Cousins, on Wednesday night.
For the first time in the 2018 season, the New Orleans Pelicans — the same team that let Cousins walk in free agency this offseason — will take the floor at Oracle Arena.
“Yeah, we definitely want to win for him,” said Warriors forward Draymond Green at shootaround on Wednesday. “Obviously he feels a way about … whatever.”
In February of 2017, Cousins was traded from the Sacramento Kings to New Orleans, where he played 65 games over a season-and-a-half. During that time, the four-time All-Star averaged 25 points, 12.7 rebounds and five assists per game.
Nearly a year after being traded, on January 26, 2018, Cousins suffered a torn Achilles, which has kept the 6-foot-11 center sidelined for the remainder of the season, ahead of his impending free agency. Because of that Achilles rupture, he had to miss what would have been his first trip to the NBA postseason, which saw the Warriors dispatch New Orleans in five games.
According to Cousins, the Pelicans did not offer him an offer to keep him in New Orleans, while conflicting reports also surfaced claiming that the Pelicans did indeed offer a two-year deal for $40 million, according to Marc Stein of the New York Times.
As a result, Cousins reached out to Warriors general manager, Bob Myers, and the two struck a one-year, $5.3 million contract for the league’s mid-level exception.
“Only me and [Pelicans general manager] Dell Demps know what was said on the phone,” Cousins stated during his introductory press conference, when he was introduced as a Warrior in July. “I’ll leave it at that.”
While Cousins was not available for comment regarding Green’s comments, the message is clear: The Warriors want to beat the Pelicans for Boogie.
Golden State is off to a 7-1 start, averaging a league-high 124.3 points and 29.6 assists per game while shooting 52 percent from the floor.
New Orleans is off to a 4-2 start and have averaged 122.5 points per game, the second-highest scoring in the NBA.
The bad news for the Pelicans, however, is that star-forward Anthony Davis, who is approaching his own free agency this offseason, will be out for a second consecutive game with a right elbow strain.