DeMarcus Cousins will reportedly sign with the Warriors in a stunning free agency move with big questions and potentially huge ramifications | Digital Asia

  • DeMarcus Cousins will sign a one-year, $5.3 million contract with the Golden State Warriors, according to reports.
  • The move comes as a shock, as Cousins, one of the best big men in all of the NBA, will sign with the two-time reigning champions.
  • Cousins is recovering from a torn Achilles tendon that ended his season early in 2017-18.

Free agent center DeMarcus Cousins will sign a one-year, $5.3 million contact with the Golden State Warriors, according to reports.

The move comes as a stunner, as Cousins, one of the top free agents available and one of the top centers in all of the NBA, will join the two-time reigning champions.

The move isn’t as straight-forward as it may seem, however, as Cousins is currently recovering from a torn Achilles tendon that ended his season early in 2018. It’s unclear when Cousins will return, if he’ll return at all this season. The move is a gamble for the Warriors as they’ll pay Cousins with a league exception that they could use to address other positions of need with players who may actually play this season.

But if Cousins can return to even a fraction of himself, it’s a huge win for the Warriors. For his career, Cousins averages 21 points, 11 rebounds, and 3 assists per game. Last season, he showed flashes of his all-around versatility and brilliance, averaging a career-high 5 assists per game while extending his range to the three-point line where he shot 35%. If the Warriors get some of that player, it will give them a big man with skills unlike anybody they’ve had during their four-year run of dominance.

It could similarly be a win for Cousins. If he returns and excels and helps the Warriors win a championship, he’ll return to the free agent market in line for a big deal. Lingering questions about Cousins’ commitment to winning and overall attitude would also likely be erased.

It’s also a move that can’t please the NBA, which has already been shaken by the circumstances that allowed a 73-win Warriors team to add Kevin Durant through free agency in 2016. The idea of Cousins, another All-Star, joining the best team in the NBA, at what could have been a discount, surely doesn’t please the league or players union.

How much Cousins turned down in free agency is unclear. Teams may have been hesitant to pay Cousins the full max given his injury. ESPN’s Zach Lowe reported in May that the New Orleans Pelicans could look to re-sign Cousins to a short-term deal worth slightly less than the max – something that could fit both sides.

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported on Monday that Cousins’ market dried up in free agency, as teams were unwilling to pay him close to the max contract he wanted.

If Cousins turned down significantly bigger deals to play with the league’s champions, it may rankle the players union, which is headed by Chris Paul and LeBron James, two players who not only often seek their full max deals in free agency (with some exceptions), but also compete directly with the Warriors.

If Cousins returns this season and dominates, adding an entirely missing dimension from the Warriors in recent years, it’s a move that could shake the NBA, even if it’s just a one-year deal.

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