Golden State just stole LeBron’s thunder. The Warriors made fools of the rest of the NBA on Monday, reportedly agreeing to a one-year, $5.3 million contract with DeMarcus Cousins. After Cousins was spurned by the Pelicans, the Dubs swooped in, stealing him on an incredibly affordable contract that’s of little risk to the team—even if Cousins isn’t fully recovered from an Achilles tear. Let’s grade the deal for Golden State.
Simply put, this is a home run. What were the concerns for Cousins? Attitude? He’ll have to fall in line playing alongside four (likely) Hall-of-Famers who’ve built a culture of unselfishness. His injury? Cousins can take his time getting healthy because there will be absolutely no pressure on him to be an All-Star when his role was previously filled by the likes of Kevon Looney, Zaza Pachulia and JaVale McGee. A big contract? Cousins showed with this deal he’s willing to sacrifice—as well as put himself in a position to cash out big next summer, when teams will be flush with space and he can prove he’s healthy. There’s a huge incentive on both sides here.
The on-court fit is almost laughable. Last season, Rob Mahoney described Cousins as the “James Harden of centers.” Before his injury, Cousins was averaging 25.2 points per game while shooting over 35% from three. He can be a floor spacer to a degree if necessary, and he can handle the ball. He’ll receive an insane amount of open looks playing with the Warriors’ stacked starting lineup, every single one of whom was an All-Star last season.
If Cousins can return to full health, I don’t know how anyone will compete with the Warriors. The health caveat is nothing to scoff at. But right now, Golden State is looking more loaded than previously thought possible.