DeMarcus Cousins is joining the defending champ Golden State Warriors, which probably earned him a ring and ruined the NBA season before training camp begins this fall.
Cousins took a one-year deal for well below his worth, and he’s feeling the heat from his critics for “chasing a ring,” among other negative things tweeted his way. Many NBA know-it-alls on Twitter are comparing it to Kevin Durant leaving Oklahoma City for the Warriors a few years ago, but the two situations are nothing alike. They’re nothing alike at all.
Let’s start with that argument: Cousins’ situation is completely different than Durant’s of two summers ago. Durant was a franchise player on a team that almost (should’ve) beat the Warriors to reach the NBA Finals. He was wanted back in Oklahoma City on the team that drafted him a decade earlier. The money was there, but Durant chose to leave for the team that overcame a 3-1 deficit to beat him in the Western Conference Finals. Durant left the Thunder, his team, to join the champs.
Cousins, on the other hand, had no team to begin with. With the unfortunate injury he suffered last season, teams were low-balling him and he was left with only a few options, if any at all. He did not turn his back on New Orleans and Anthony Davis, like some are saying. New Orleans didn’t want him back. Dell Demps had plenty of opportunities to lock him back up and the offer never came. The Pelicans instead have Julius Randle.
Then with several other major free agent moves around the league, Cousins saw the window closing for him to land a spot that was worth his while. He was reportedly “stunned” that his phone wasn’t ringing when, until the injury, this was to be the summer he landed a max deal.
But according to ESPN’s Marc Spears, Cousins had ZERO offers before calling the Warriors to offer his services for a mid-level exception deal. ZERO. The four-time All-Star couldn’t find a home due to the uncertainty of his future because of the Achilles’ injury.
— Jemele Hill (@jemelehill) July 3, 2018
So, Cousins made the right move. Realizing he wasn’t going to get the money he believes he deserves, he took a significant pay-cut to join a team. And if you’re taking a pay-cut, why would you go anywhere but the best team? Do you expect him to be underpaid on a team that sucks? No, that would be idiotic. If you’re going to be making a fraction of what you should be making, at least have some fun in a positive environment.
Now Cousins can rehab in San Francisco (surrounded by his best friends and across the bay from his former home) and potentially get a ring in the process. There will be no pressure to lead a team when he comes back in January and he can take his time in making sure he’s ready to come back. Then once he does come back, he’ll have five or six months to prove he’s deserving of a big deal next summer. And what better way to prove yourself than to go to the team that’s on TV every night, in the hunt for a Finals run, and surrounded by great players that’ll make everything easier?
It’s the smart move — GENIUS, some say:
BTW, Cousins is a GD genius. Sees there’s no market for him with his injury, signs a one year deal, wins a ring to get that burden off, then can recoup value.
— Hardwood Paroxysm (@HPbasketball) July 3, 2018
And one last point: If there is anyone who deserves a year in a winning culture, it’s DeMarcus Cousins. He gave his all to the worst franchise in the NBA for seven years (don’t get me started on the Kings’ dumbass ownership) and never got a taste of the playoff hunt. When he got shipped to the Pelicans (which cost him the super-max) and was on his way to his first NBA All-Star start and his first postseason, he suffered one of the worst injuries for a big man.
That’s eight years of disappointment and a lot of money left on the table for a guy who only wants to win. So if he wants to feel a happy and winning environment for once, go for it, Boogie. Middle-fingers to the NBA for all the disrespect throughout his career and a courtside seat in front of Riley Curry until he’s healthy again. Good for him.
Then next summer, get the big payday he deserves and should’ve gotten this summer.