The NBA world was thrown for a loop this past summer when the two-time defending champion Golden State Warriors signed All-Star center DeMarcus Cousins to a one-year, $5.34 million contract.
Cousins, 28, was set to receive a max contract in free agency prior to suffering a torn Achilles with the New Orleans Pelicans back in January. With interest in his services relatively weak, Golden State used its mid-level exception to sign one of the game’s most-talented big men.
For the Warriors, it was a rather easy decision. The team can afford to take it easy with Cousins as he returns from the devastating injury. While Cousins himself has now taken part in full non-contact drills, he’s seemingly ways away from returning.
Once he does, the four-time All-Star will add to a core group that includes four All-Stars and two former NBA MVPs. But according to head coach Steve Kerr, Cousins’ stint in Northern California won’t be lasting too long.
“We’re not going to have money to sign him (Cousins) next year so we’d like to help him win a championship and sign a great contract somewhere else,” Kerr said, via Bleacher Report.
This shouldn’t be considered too much of a surprise. If Cousins is able to return to full health and help the Warriors, he’ll be able to sign a lucrative multi-year deal next summer. The Warriors themselves can only offer him 125 percent of his current 2018-19 salary. Needless to say, a healthy Cousins would be valued at a much higher clip than that.
It’s also important to note that Golden State has to fork over max contracts to pending free agents Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson. Cousins likely won’t be a major focal point for the team.