Less than a full day following LeBron James’ decision to play for the Lakers, the Warriors responded to the superstar’s move by reportedly signing DeMarcus Cousins to a one-year contract worth $5.3 million. While spurring a third straight offseason of chaos, the signing of Cousins further tips the balance of power into the hand of the now two-time NBA champions.
Following the NBA’s seismic shift, Yahoo! Sports’ Chris Mannix joined Ordway, Merloni and Fauria to discuss the eventful past two days of basketball’s free agency.
“For Cousins, once he realized that the money wasn’t there, winning became a priority,” Mannix said of the All-Star big man. “Is it a good fit? Well, Golden State has never had a player that plays that style. They’re more perimeter oriented, pass happy, [but] at the same time they struggled against [the Rockets] in part because they didn’t have anybody they could throw the ball in to [who could] create his own offense via the low post. Cousins can come back, say around the February trade deadline and sort of be their de facto trade acquisition, I think he can have an impact in a much more reduced role in the second half of the season.”
It is foreseen that because he will be playing with four other All-Stars, Cousins will likely be unable to register the numbers he put up as a member of the Kings and Pelicans once he returns from his Achilles injury. OMF had previously debated on the air as to how the signing will benefit the center’s image as a winner, while at the same time, diminishing his role as a team “alpha.”
Mannix explained Cousins’ current situation as an opportunity for him to regroup and earn him an opportunity for a max deal next summer.
“Teams are always going to have a fear about giving DeMarcus Cousins a full five-year deal,” he said. “I mean, the idea that he no longer will have the carrot of a long term contract in front of him to motivate him and keep him aligned, that’s a fear that goes well beyond the injury stuff and anything else. But he can go to Golden State, fit in, be a good team player, accept a reduced role, and more importantly for him, rehab, and get himself all the way back. People in Cousins’ camp when I talked to them yesterday said they really believe that if he can get back to 100 percent … he can get that four to five year max contract with somebody else this offseason. The next nine months are basically a DeMarcus Cousins rehabilitation tour in every possible way.”
Despite the whispers of the Celtics’ interest in the former Pelicans’ center, Mannix confirmed the Boston Globe’s report that the advantage to land Cousins was quickly in the hands of the Warriors.
“I talked to people in Cousins camp and from the other side, and my understanding of this is that again, when Cousins decided that money was not going to be his priority, he made a list of the top two teams out there. Golden State is the favorite in the West, Boston right now is the favorite in the East, he decided to chase championships,” said Mannix. “He checked in with Boston, his team checked in with Boston, but the rock was rolling down the mountain too fast for Golden State, so before Boston could even make an offer, DeMarcus had been locked down – though I think the Celtics would have considered him, I mean, you have to if he’s willing to play for $5 million, but it never really got that far with the organization.”
It was also discussed on OMF whether the Celtics pitch regarding a chance for a championship would have held up against the Warriors odds of winning. But the factor of surprise is what also led to Cousins falling into the Warriors’ laps.
“Even people in Golden State, I talked to one person about this late last night, they had no belief that DeMarcus Cousins was actually going to play for $5 million,” explained Mannix. “This is a guy who when he sits down for negotiation, only one word comes out of his mouth and that’s ‘max.’ So, everybody was operating under the assumption that DeMarcus Cousins would go for the best possible free agent dollar. When he pivoted like that, it stunned everybody … Boston not pursuing him, I get it, Golden State didn’t pursue him either, in fact nobody who didn’t have $20 plus million in cap space truly believed DeMarcus was out there.”
On the Celtics approach following the Cousins signing: “I don’t think you go crazy because DeMarcus signed a one-year deal … This Celtics team … we believe they’re great, but they haven’t been to the Finals yet. How about get to the Finals and see where you’re at first? They still have the ability to kind of play the long game here. If they stumble in the Eastern Conference, maybe that’s a different conversation, but I don’t think you react to this, and I’m sure Boston’s not going to react to this.”
On Dwight Howard: “The one name you have to kind of keep an eye on is Dwight Howard. You have to. Because a few years ago, Boston was interested. When Dwight was a Houston Rocket, there was some back and forth between the Celtics and Rockets about a potential trade. Danny Ainge has long liked Dwight a lot more than other GMs I believe have, and Dwight right now … is looking for any kind of offer at this point. His team, from what I’ve been told, basically went from being sure or reasonably sure they could get the mid-level exception to basically be looking for any offer that’s out there. Those offers just aren’t there right now. But Boston could be an interesting landing spot for Dwight if he’s willing to take the veteran’s minimum to play there and be in that mix.”
On the Lakers: “If you were making a list of some of the worst players to play alongside LeBron James, you’d have some of the guys the Lakers signed on that list. You surround LeBron with shooters. Rondo and Lance Stephenson are career 30 percent three-point shooters. JaVale McGee, LeBron talks all the time about the need to play with guys of high basketball IQ – that’s not JaVale McGee. So, you’ve got the island of misfit toys out there in L.A. who LeBron is playing with right now.”
More Celtics news
Full article @ Chris Mannix on OMF explains DeMarcus Cousins’ decision to choose Warriors over Celtics
Source: GreenStreet Blog