The NBA world is buzzing about LeBron James’ next move. And Paul George. And Kawhi Leonard.
As a New Orleans Pelicans fan, all I care about is DeMarcus Cousins’ next move.
Cousins is will become an unrestricted free agent at 11:01 p.m. today. Whether he stays in New Orleans or leaves is a mystery.
Anthony Davis is clearly the face of the franchise. Seeing how the Pelicans ended this past season without Cousins, gives Pelicans fans hope of what could be with Cousins on the floor.
Cousins averaged 25.2 points, 12.9 rebounds per game and helped the Pelicans win seven of eight games before his season-ending Achilles injury.
Multiple league sources say there are mixed feelings among various camps about what it means to retain Cousins with questionable health, and at a price that severely hampers the Pelicans’ roster-building flexibility.
A year ago, none of those issues existed. The Pelicans were ready to offer Cousins a max contract and he had the ability to take it or leave it.
His skill level, production and age merited the massive deal regardless of the salary issues, and the Pelicans knew it. But when his Achilles snapped, that straightforward path bent with it.
Kushner says that a Cousins’ deal will not be done anytime soon. So until then, we will wait and pray that “Boogie and the Brow” and “Fire and Ice” will remain together for at least one more season.
This is the most fascinating, unpredictable, high-stakes free agency decision the Pelicans have ever faced. And the direction of the franchise will be unquestionably changed by the end of it.