The date was January 26, 2018, the Rockets and Pelicans were playing game 48 of 82. It was a close game and DeMarcus Cousins stepped to the free throw line to close out the Rockets and secure the victory. He missed the second free throw in the process of trying to save the ball from going out of bounds he felt that pain in his left ankle every basketball player fears. Cousins suffered a torn left Achilles’ tendon and just like that his season was over and the future of his career would now be filled with question marks.
Cousins was set to be one of the top free agents that coming summer. Now that he suffered this debilitating injury, along with having a reputation for being a malcontent in the locker room. No team would touch Cousins with a 10-foot pole. The Pelicans were the only team to offer him a contract of any significance. They offered him 2 years $40 million, and Cousins was looking to sign a lucrative max contract.
Cousins career had hit a crossroads. Prior to Cousins stepping to the free throw line on that fateful January night, he was a part of a dynamic duo that featured Anthony Davis. Cousins was looking to make the playoffs for the first time in his career and was having an All-NBA type season. He would now have to begin his rehab faced with uncertainty.
Enter the Golden State Warriors. The latest dynasty in the long history of the NBA. One of the best-run organizations in the league, that already features Steph Curry, Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green was looking to sign Demarcus Cousins. The news broke that the Warriors had indeed in fact signed Cousins to a 1 year 5.3 million dollar contract. The news of Cousins joining the Warriors almost broke NBA Twitter.
The question is why would Cousins want to leave? Especially since all things point to Kevin Durant leaving after this season. Cousins could take Durant's spot and the Warriors will still have a big three of Curry, Cousins, and Thompson. The problem is the Warriors do not have Cousins Bird Rights. meaning they could only offer him a 120% raise on his current $5.3 million dollar salary. Which means they can only offer him a salary that would pay $6.3 million a year. That's even 3 million dollars under the mid-level exception. Cousins would have to play two more years a total of 3 before Golden State possess his Bird Rights.
If I'm Demarcus Cousins I would resign with Warriors. I know it sounds like I'm taking Drugs, but hear me out. When Cousins suffered his injury every NBA team had the option to sign him. All those teams except for the Warriors elected to pass. They offered him a lifeline while he was drowning while everyone else just watched. I know there is no loyalty in Professional sports, but I truly believe that the culture in Golden State is great for Cousins. He would contend for a championship every year, and he would be seen as one of the best players in the league playing for the best team in the league.
The decision would be tough as he would stand to lose 20-30 million dollars a year. That kind of money is generational money and the fact that he's coming off a serious injury makes the decision even harder. With that being said Cousins should first get the Warriors to agree that in 2 years they will max him out. If they agree then Cousins should become a Warrior for life.
For a player who has played in nothing but dysfunctional, poorly run franchises why not stay with one of the best. Why not stay with the organization that wanted you when nobody else did. Cousins agent did not receive any phone calls from any other NBA team. One could suggest that Cousins was being blackballed by the rest of the teams in the NBA. If the Warriors do not sign Cousins who does?
Why not be remembered as an innovator, a pioneer, a free thinker. Be remembered as someone who decided to go against the grain and the status quo. There is an old saying that states all money ain't good money. Cousins should sacrifice the money for the next 2 seasons then cash out that following season. if he takes heed to my advice he will go down as one of the best big men to ever play the game. Then again he’ll probably lean towards the money and who knows how the rest of his career will turn out.