It looks like DeMarcus Cousins’ free agency decision will come down to three teams: the New Orleans Pelicans, the Washington Wizards, and the Los Angeles Lakers.
Though it was reported yesterday afternoon Cousins would “very likely” end up back in New Orleans, the 6-foot-11 center spoke with the Lakers right when the moratorium period began at midnight, and the team is reportedly making him a major target as an unrestricted free agent. He’s expected to have meetings with both franchises.
Now, reports are surfacing that the Wizards are trying to put together a sign-and-trade package to pair Cousins up with his former Kentucky teammate, John Wall. If the superstar big man were to leave the Pelicans, the Wizards would easily the next-best thing for the Big Blue Nation.
The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor reports that though it is a possibility, it may be a “longshot” at this point.
“The Wizards are considered a sign-and-trade possibility, though sources have told me that’s a longshot, with Suns center Alex Len a more realistic target,” he said. “That leaves the Lakers and Pelicans.”
Cousins, a Mobile, AL native, averaged 25.2 points and 12.9 rebounds per game for the Pelicans before an Achilles injury sidelined him for the remainder of the season.
And that injury is scaring teams away from making expensive long-term commitments.
According to The Ringer, an offer from the Lakers is expected to be a one or two-year max deal, a pricetag upwards of $60 million for the latter.
The goal would be to pair Cousins with NBA superstar LeBron James, who is reportedly favoring L.A., per O’Connor.
“Yes, the Lakers are still favorites—but not total locks—to sign LeBron James, league sources say. For what it’s worth, some executives believe LeBron’s indecision is all theater, and he has already decided on the Lakers as his new team,” said O’Connor.
Back in January of 2017, James called Cousins, “the best big man in our game.” To this day, multiple reports say James is extremely interested in pairing up with Boogie.
Would James sign with Los Angeles without a trade for San Antonio’s Kawhi Leonard finalized? Would a James/Cousins pairing be enough to justify leaving Cleveland? Or could Washington come in at the last minute with a successful trade offer for Cousins?
Or does Cousins return to New Orleans and run it back with the most dominant frontcourt duo in the league.
The NBA offseason is the best.