The NBA’s richest team has gotten a whole lot richer. DeMarcus Cousins has agreed to join the Golden State Warriors, according to multiple reports. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski says the deal is for one year, $5.3 million.
Cousins is one of the best big men in the NBA, but is coming off a season-ending Achilles injury he suffered in January while playing for the New Orleans Pelicans. He holds averages of 26.5 points and 11.7 rebounds over the past three years, and was named an All-Star for the fourth time last season before his injury.
It’s another huge free-agent acquisition for the Warriors, who made a lot of enemies by signing Kevin Durant two summers ago. Cousins is an astronomical upgrade over Golden State’s previous centers, Zaza Pachulia, Kevon Looney and JaVale McGee. The only question is how close Cousins can get to his old self after recovering from an injury that is traditionally hard to come back from — but even at less than 100 percent he’s still vastly better than what they had.
In terms of his injury, the Warriors will give him all the time that he needs to get better — they proved last year that the regular season comes a distant second to being ready and healthy for the playoffs. This is actually a great situation for Cousins, who can get his full rehab in, potentially win a championship, then hit next summer’s free agent market when a lot more teams have cap space to sign him.
The Cousins news comes as a particularly tough blow to the Lakers, who appeared to be angling to sign the big man as a second star to put next to LeBron James. But now, instead of the Lakers closing the gap in the West, the Warriors have widened it even further.