New Orleans Pelicans superstar Anthony Davis didn't want DeMarcus Cousins back and liked the style of play the team started to implement when Cousins went down with the Achilles tendon injury, according to a report from Andrew Doak of WWL-TV.
Cousins signed a one-year, $5.3 million free agent deal with the Golden State Warriors. The big man turned down an extension from the Pelicans before the season ended and didn’t receive any offers when free agency started.
Without Cousins, Davis and the Pelicans swept the Portland Trail Blazers in the first-round of the playoffs. New Orleans played faster on offense and their defense improved tremendously.
Before getting injured, Cousins was averaging 25.2 points and 12.9 rebounds in 48 games while shooting 47.0 percent from the field and 35.4 percent from three with the Pelicans. The All-Star was well on his way to signing a max contract with New Orleans.
The injury, however, changed everything for Cousins. So, Cousins decided to give the Warriors a call.
Golden State was shocked when Cousins contacted them expressing interest in joining their already stacked roster. The Warriors’ recruitment of Cousins was led by forward Draymond Green, along with general manager Bob Myers and head coach Steve Kerr.
Davis heavily recruited Julius Randle to New Orleans after the Los Angeles Lakers renounced Randle’s free agent rights. Randle agreed to a two-year, $18 million deal with the Pelicans. The contract has a second-year player option.
When he saw on TV that Cousins was joining the Warriors, Davis says he was shocked.
"Of course I was a little shocked,” Davis told Bill Reiter on CBS Sports. "But I know DeMarcus and he made the best decision for him and his career at that time and for his family. I understand it’s a business, of course I definitely would have loved to keep going, but at that point I’m not sure what was going on with his situation or what was going through his head. It’s a lot, coming from being traded and then feeling like you deserve a max contract and then you rupture your Achilles. It’s tough.”