DeMarcus Cousins was playing the best basketball of his career with the New Orleans Pelicans this season before suffering a season-ending Achilles injury that’s going to keep him sidelined for a portion of the upcoming campaign, posting averages of 25.2 points, 12.9 rebounds, 5.4 dimes, 1.6 steals and 1.6 blocks per game.
Cousins was finally showing signs of maturity and his determination to win was a major boost for Anthony Davis and the Pelicans, but sadly, his long awaited playoff debut is going to have to wait for at least one more season.
So, with his health still being a major question mark for the upcoming campaign, some teams are likely to have a cautious approach on the troublemaker, but others are a lock to offer him a huge contract as a high risk-high reward pickup. Today, we’re going to let you know about the top 5 destinations for him to go.
5. Cleveland Cavaliers
The Cleveland Cavaliers definitely need to clear some cap space or do a sign and trade in order to land him, but it would be a major step towards keeping LeBron, considering The King has always had high praise for Boogie.
A Love-Cousins frontcourt would be an offensive beauty to watch, and a very dominant rebounding tandem as well. Also, with James and Cousins driving, all the extra help would open a lot of room for their shooters, while he’d have an easier path to the NBA Finals than if he stays on the West.
4. Washington Wizards
The Washington Wizards are a lock to try and find a new big man for this upcoming season after John Wall stated that the team needs athletic bigs, something that doesn’t fit Marcin Gortat’s or Ian Mahinmi’s description for sure.
Cousins would definitely be a major upgrade at the center spot for the sluggish Wizards and would instantly make him contenders in the East, although they would also have to do a sign and trade or clear a lot of cap space in order to get him.
3. Phoenix Suns
The Phoenix Suns may not be the best landing spot for a guy determined to win, but they could offer him a lot of money and a nice and intriguing prospect for the future, considering they’re a lock to have a top 3 pick this year alongside Devin Booker, TJ Warren, Marquese Chriss and Josh Jackson.
Cousins is likely going to struggle a bit to find his rhythm back following so many months in the sidelines, so they could bring him back slowly here and land yet another top prospect in the next year’s draft while their youngsters continue their development, but patience is not a thing we know Boogie for.
2. Los Angeles Lakers
The Los Angeles Lakers would be a better choice than the Phoenix Suns, but he may still need to wait a year or two before contending dressed in purple and gold, that is; unless he agrees to take a pay cut while Los Angeles makes a run for either James, George of both.
Even if they strike out on one or two of those players, they have an outstanding young core in Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram and Kyle Kuzma, and Cousins would finally play for the big market he’s always craved since entering the league.
1. New Orleans Pelicans
The New Orleans Pelicans may be an obvious and easy choice for Cousins to make, but they’re still not to offer him a max contract due to health concerns despite how well he fared with fellow Wildcat Anthony Davis over a season and a half.
Still, it’s been pretty clear that Alvin Gentry has known how to make the most out of Boogie and the team has taken a major step forward in the playoffs after completely dominating the Blazers, so maybe he should just stay put and try to take New Orleans to the ultimate stage.
Even if Demarcus Cousins were not coming back from a devastating Achilles injury, the list of teams that can afford to offer him big money this offseason is small.
His current team, New Orleans, could do so, and Anthony Davis clearly wants him back; but the way they've played since Cousins went down coupled with the potential for him to be less effective going forward has Pelicans management leaning towards a short-term contract offer, something Cousins may turn down.
The Lakers are in the market for All-NBA-level talent this summer and have cleared the cap space to spend, but Cousins won't be at the top of their wish-list with the likes of LeBron James and Paul George potentially being available. Boogie would be a consolation prize for Magic Johnson, and the Lakers may prefer standing pat if they swing and miss on the King.
More recently, the rebuilding Suns have emerged as a potential landing spot, being one of the few teams with enough cap space to offer Cousins the type of money he thinks he deserves. While that may put a few fans in the stands early next season, it wouldn't be a route to sustained success, given how much cap space it would tie up on a team that has more holes than a mesh tank top.
As it stands, the odds via MyTopSportsbooks.com on Boogie's team to start next season heavily favor a return to New Orleans, largely because keeping AD happy is their priority:
- New Orleans: 3/5
- LA Lakers: 11/1
- Phoenix: 11/1
- Washington: 15/1
- Cleveland: 18/1