DeMarcus Cousins recently signed a one-year, $3.5 million contract to join the Los Angeles Lakers. He joins former New Orleans Pelicans teammate and former Kentucky great, Anthony Davis, as well as Rajon Rondo, who later signed a two-year deal with the Lakers.
Cousins seemingly had a difficult time in free agency for the second straight offseason. After tearing his Achilles in January 2018, Cousins hit the open market and just couldn’t find a suitor. He looked poised to land an enormous max contract as he was one of the most dominant bigs in the entire league. However, teams knew Cousins would only be able to play half the season – if he was lucky – and he might not be the same after the injury. So, he settled for a one-year contract with the Golden State Warriors.
It made sense. Cousins had nothing left to prove in terms of ability, but he did need to prove he was healthy and he wanted to be the first Calipari-era Kentucky player to win an NBA championship. So, he signed with the best team, which allowed him to take as long as he needed to recover, and hoped to make a triumphant return in the playoffs.
That dream didn’t exactly come to fruition. Cousins played well upon his return, but he quickly tore his quad. He returned for a couple of games in the Finals, but ultimately, the Warriors fell to the Toronto Raptors.
This offseason, Cousins was hoping for a smoother go-around, but it didn’t turn out that way. Not many teams were interested, but a one-year, $3.5 million deal for a former all-star, who still has a lot left in the tank, albeit with a lot to prove, seemed like an absolute steal.
Well, the reason it seemed like a steal is because it probably was. Cousins didn’t simply choose the Lakers on his own. According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, he was recruited by his former teammate and Kentucky alum, Anthony Davis.
The Miami Heat had interest in Cousins, but several Lakers players — including Anthony Davis — helped convince him on joining LA, league sources tell ESPN. https://t.co/U2fgWbb8PL
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) July 6, 2019
But just like every other recruiting effort, there had to be a bigger pitch than just simply telling him to come play with two of the best players in the world. That pitch was Cousins’ second chance at winning an NBA title.
Anthony Davis’s pitch to DeMarcus Cousins, per source, was short and to the point-let’s win it all. Their relationship in New Orleans was very solid, but Cousins’s achilles’ injury and the Pels’ lack of interest re-signing him ended things prematurely.
— David Aldridge (@davidaldridgedc) July 6, 2019
While it’s fair to wonder if Cousins will ever be the same player again, Cousins and Davis were unstoppable when they were together in New Orleans. Now they have LeBron in the mix, and if Boogie is even a resemblance of what he used to be, they do have a real shot at winning it all.
Anthony Davis waived a $4 million trade-kicker when he was traded from the Pelicans to the Lakers. His reasoning behind letting go of a free $4 million was wanting to win. He said his legacy is bigger than any amount of money.
That $4 million basically represents the amount the Lakers gave to Cousins, so Davis really did play a huge part in bringing Boogie to the City of Angels.
The former Kentucky players aren’t guaranteed a championship, but they now have set themselves up nicely for success this season.