DeMarcus Cousins is going to be one of the most pursuit players in this upcoming free agency, as even though he’d love to stay put with the Warriors, he’s not likely to further extend his stay at the Bay.
The Warriors still own his non-Bird rights but could only offer him as much as 9.2 million per year due to their cap situation. So he could either stay another year with a discount to sign a huge contract in 2020 or just leave.
Boogie hasn’t been his usual self since coming back from his Achilles injury, but once he has a full summer of conditioning, he’s going to be the same dominant scoring big man we’re used to seeing.
But, where could be a better fit? Where could he make some of the money he gave up on this season? Where could he lead a team to the playoff as an alpha dog and not just a role player? Let’s break it down.
5. Washington Wizards
If the Washington Wizards are reluctant to give up on next season and just tank while John Wall gets healthy, they could try and make a run at DeMarcus Cousins to try and pair him with Bradley Beal.
Notably, they would have to trade away Ian Mahinmi to clear some cap space for Boogie, so that most likely means getting rid of picks in the process as well. Still, he’d finally be that athletic big man they’ve been craving for so long.
4. Dallas Mavericks
The Dallas Mavericks have also been on the market for a top-tier big man for a while, and they have enough money to make a run at Boogie in the summer to try and put him next to Kristaps Porzingis.
There’s no doubt the Mavericks have a bright future and have one of the most promising young cores in the league with Porzingis and Luka Doncic, but perhaps they’re not the most win-now destination for Cousins to go to.
3. Golden State Warriors
There’s always the possibility of him staying, but that would most likely mean the Warriors lost both Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson, or that somehow they convinced him to give up on even more money.
According to Eric Pincus of the Bleacher Report:
If both Durant and Thompson leave, the Warriors would gain some flexibility to keep Cousins, either with cap room or the full $9.2 million mid-level exception. But as things stand, he’s expecting a big contract this summer and won’t be getting it from Golden State.
That doesn’t necessarily mean he’s gone. He can choose to stay at a discount for another season and then wait and see if the franchise has the means to reward him with a larger long-term contract. But would he turn down a four-year, $140.6 million contract to join the Lakers as the big man next to James, only to stay for $6.4 million with the Warriors?
Steve Kerr pretty much shut the door on him staying beyond this season earlier in the year, but if you have a chance to keep one of the best players in the league on a huge discount, you just do it.
2. Los Angeles Lakers
LeBron James has always had some high praise for DeMarcus Cousins and truth to be told, they’d be deadly in the pick and roll. Moreover, the Lakers can offer him as much as 140 million over the next 4 seasons.
Cousins wants to play for a big market and he wants to win. The Lakers want a top-tier big man while they wait for Anthony Davis. Davis and Cousins are friends and thrived together. Do the math.
1. Los Angeles Clippers
And finally, the Los Angeles Clippers are back again as the frontrunner to get one of the league’s top-tier free agents. Once they sign Kawhi Leonard, they will still have a lot of cap space to make a run at Cousins.
Moreover, with Kevin Durant pretty much a lock to join the New York Knicks and Kyrie Irving set to join him, Cousins would be the best free agent remaining. He’d have a lot of money, live in Los Angeles, and have a huge shot at contention.