To say that everyone who follows the NBA is a bit shocked right now at what has transpired would be a tremendous understatement.
The Golden State Warriors have signed DeMarcus Cousins to a 1-year contract worth the mid-level exception of $5.3 million.
Cousins is one of the best frontcourt players in the league, and he’s going to be only the 7th highest paid player on the Warriors next season.
Cousins was disappointed that he hadn’t received any offers yet in free agency, so he was the one who reached out to the Warriors. It’s absolutely insane.
Patrick Murray of Forbes has a great story that really breaks down the numerous questions being evoked by this unexpected development.
In terms of how this specifically happened, Cousins was in line for a max contract before suffering a torn Achilles back in January.
This sent his market value plummeting, apparently even so far that he didn’t receive any offers before he reached out to the Warriors.
Kevin Durant had signed a one-and-one deal the day prior that saved the Warriors $5 million, which essentially covered the cost of the mid-level exception they used on Cousins.
In terms of his health going forward, it’s really important to keep in mind the severity of an Achilles injury like this one.
There’s no guarantee that Cousins is going to return to be the same player he was before this injury, and Achilles injuries like this usually take about a year to hear.
That means that Cousins is likely going to miss at least the first few months of next season, and it’s unknown if he can get back to his elite level of play.
In terms of how he fits in on the court, Cousins gives this team the first dynamic offensive center they’ve had thus far during their run of dominance. He can pass, is a decent outside shooter for his size, and is a great rebounder.
In terms of how he fits in off the court, while Cousins can be volatile, the Warriors have a strong culture that can withstand potential turbulence.
They’ve had success with assimilating players with bad reputations and given Cousins’ already strong relationship with this team’s core dating back to their Team USA days, it doesn’t seem to be something overly concerning.
In terms of his future with the Warriors beyond next season, that’s a bridge that can be crossed at some point further down the road.
The Warriors will be well over the cap next offseason, and would only be eligible to give Cousins a 20% pay raise to retain him.
Assuming he returns from injury and looks anywhere near like his old self, other teams are going to be dwarfing what the Warriors can offer him.
Winning is addictive, though, and maybe Cousins would be willing to stick around and sacrifice money for continued team success.
What’s certain right now is that the Warriors are buying low with a player who is arguably a top 10 talent in this league when fully healthy.