Last week, former Kentucky big man DeMarcus Cousins shocked the basketball world by agreeing to a deal with the Golden State Warriors. One of the greatest teams ever assembled just got the best center in the NBA at just $5.3 million.
It was a steal, and it likely solidified the world champion of the 2018-19 season before it even started.
And according to Golden State head coach Steve Kerr, he knows he got lucky with it. And he’s perfectly fine with that.
In an interview with The Athletic, Kerr said he hasn’t really noticed the backlash of the decision yet, but he knows it’s going to get people pretty angry when Cousins returns from the ruptured Achilles he suffered last season.
“I haven’t really noticed it,” he said. “I mean I knew it was coming. Bob and I sort of looked at each other after this happened and just shook our heads and started laughing. Like, people are really going to hate us now. We got lucky. It’s the mid-level, we weren’t even necessarily going to spend it; we were only going to use it if there was somebody we felt could make a big impact at a $20-million expense. It’s not $5.3 million. It’s times 4 with the tax.”
That being said, Kerr said it’s not his fault for Cousins being interested in joining the Warriors. Other teams had their chances to put money on the table to sign him.
“It’s not like we stole him. Everybody else had a shot, too. It’s just a very thin market this year. DeMarcus kind of slipped through the cracks. I think he recognizes that this is an opportunity to do something different in his career. I think he’s excited about it. He wants his career to move in a different direction from where it’s been. I think we can give him that opportunity and in return, he can give us a better opportunity to win. So it really is a win-win,” Kerr said.
The Pelicans reportedly had a two-year, $40 million offer on the table during the season, but Cousins declined it. The Lakers were reportedly interested and even called him when free agency opened, but in a win-now situation, they said he wasn’t a major priority and didn’t want to put a lot of money on the table for a guy that would only be available half the year. The Celtics supposedly finished No. 2 in the Cousins sweepstakes, but according to several Boston insiders, the All-Star center already agreed to a deal with Golden State by the time both parties were ready to talk numbers. In other words, they didn’t have a real chance to sign him.
Money was tight in free agency this offseason, in large part due to the ridiculously high team spending back in 2016. As a result, there weren’t a lot of suitors with max-money for talented players like Cousins, especially coming off of a major injury.
Now, we get to watch Steph Curry, Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, and Boogie destroy the competition this season.