- DeMarcus Cousins does not have a free-agent market, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
- Wojnarowski reported that Cousins might have been hoping for a one-year deal worth $US10 million to $US20 million, but that has not materialised. Wojnarowski said he was unsure if Cousins would command even $US10 million.
- Cousins took a one-year $US5 million deal with the Warriors last season to rebuild his value after tearing his Achilles, but a limited role and further injuries seemed to only hurt Cousins’ market.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
DeMarcus Cousins is one of the biggest remaining names on the free-agent market and is having difficulty securing the type of deal he was looking for, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
Wojnarowski said on “SportsCenter” on Monday that there was “not a market” for Cousins at the moment.
Wojnarowski said he believed Cousins hoped to secure a one-year contract in the range of $US10 million to $US20 million from one of the big markets that struck out in free agency. So far, that has not happened.
Furthermore, Wojnarowski said he was not sure that Cousins could even sign the midlevel exception (there are three midlevel exceptions, worth $US4.7 million, $US5.7 million, or $US9.2 million annually, depending on a team’s payroll and tax status). It’s unclear if Wojnarowski was referring to the $US9.2 million midlevel exception, which is for non-tax-paying teams.
Cousins played on the taxpayer midlevel exception last year when he chose to sign with the Warriors. Cousins’ market was affected last summer after he tore his Achilles during the 2017-18 season. ESPN’s Zach Lowe reported at the time that the best offer Cousins might have gotten was the midlevel exception, worth about $US8.6 million.
Cousins instead joined the Warriors for a one-year $US5 million contract, hoping to prove himself. It seemed like a low-risk, high-reward move for both sides. Cousins could rehab with a team that didn’t need him right away, try to prove his value on a contender, and then hit the open market again.
Cousins had an up-and-down regular season once he returned in January. Just two games into the playoffs, Cousins injured his quadriceps and missed the next 14 games before returning in the NBA Finals. Cousins showed flashes in the finals, but many people in the NBA world didn’t believe he was fully healthy.
While Cousins’ move to the Warriors had plenty of upside, the gamble is now clear: Cousins is a free agent again and didn’t get to prove his value much over the 2018-19 season.
Teams now seem understandably sceptical about Cousins’ health, as he hasn’t played a full season in two years. He’s played over 70 games just once in the past five seasons, as he often missed games even before the Achilles injury that cost him much of the previous two seasons.
Cousins is also a tricky fit for many teams. He’s versatile on offence but plays better with the ball. Cousins has never been a stout defender, and it’s unclear if he’s fully recovered physically from the Achilles injury and the quadriceps injury in the postseason. For all of Cousins’ talent, he doesn’t slot easily into many teams, even on a one-year deal.
Wojnarowski said on “Get Up!” on Tuesday that he believed a full healthy year could help Cousins reestablish a market. If Cousins signs another one-year deal, he could become a free agent next season and get a bigger, longer contract.
It’s unclear which team would go after Cousins. ESPN’s Tim Bontemps said on “Get Up!” that Cousins could monitor the Kawhi Leonard situation, hoping to land a deal with one of the Los Angeles teams that missed out on signing Leonard.
Cousins once seemed destined for a four- or five-year max contract that would make him one of the NBA’s highest-paid players. In an unfortunate turn of events, it appears Cousins will have to prove himself on a short-term contract again, with no guarantees he’ll ever get the big payday that once seemed like a certainty.
- Read more from Scott Davis:
- NBA free agency has exploded. Here are the biggest signings so far and the best remaining players.
- The Knicks’ all-in gamble on free agency backfired spectacularly, and now they’re forced to pivot to a long, uncertain path
- The Warriors pulled off a fascinating retool as they lost Kevin Durant, and they may not be done yet
- The biggest sports story the year you were born
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.