WE are over four days into the crazy annual NBA player movement period and close to 50% of all the free agents have been signed to new deals. While everyone continues to wait on bated breath for the Kawhi Leonard domino to fall, there are still some noteworthy targets in the pool of players looking for a new home. One such player is DeMarcus Cousins, who continues to puzzle the league after recent injury issues with the Pelicans and Warriors. Stories are emerging that ‘Boogie’ Cousins has received virtually no interest from teams thus far, so I’m going to try and put the criticized center out of his misery by suggesting some landing spots.
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WITH Hassan Whiteside out of the picture, Boogie could slot straight into the Heat’s lineup at center next season. There’s still a glut of big men on the roster like Bam Adebayo, Kelly Olynyk and the newly acquired Meyers Leonard, so Cousins’ signing might not be a natural fit. However, given the flexibility in today’s NBA, there’s no reason why he couldn’t see some minutes alongside any of those other bigs. If I was running the Heat I’d consider taking a gamble on Cousins, with the hope that he refinds his mojo just as the aforementioned bigs come off their books. Besides, with Jimmy Butler and Boogie on the same team, what could go wrong?
Los Angeles Lakers
WE are all bracing for that fact that Kawhi could become a Laker any minute now, but if he were to reject LA, there’s a chance DeMarcus could take his place. Playing Anthony Davis as a power forward and utilising Cousins as his fellow starting frontcourt mate is a recipe that seemed to work in NOLA during their brief 65-game partnership. If you add LeBron James into that mix, I like the Lakers’ chances of contending in the immediate future. Of course, that would leave them with a serious logjam of forwards and big men, but if those players are true stars of the game you can find the other pieces necessary to build a winner around them.
PERHAPS the only thing missing from Atlanta’s exciting young core is a versatile center that can play at both ends of the floor. While John Collins may one day develop into that player, there is one already on the market that they could snare on the cheap. DeMarcus Cousins doesn’t really suit the Hawks’ current timeline, but if he can eventually get his body and mind right there’s a chance that Boogie could be a solid contributor for Atlanta into his 30’s. With the continued development of their young stars, Cousins getting back to his basketballing best in 12-18 months might suit the Hawks perfectly.
San Antonio Spurs
PERSONALLY, I think the Cousins to San Antonio scenario is my favourite one in the bunch. As it stands right now the Spurs only have one true center on their roster in the form of Jakob Poeltl and there’s a possibility that with Boogie in tow they can keep their unreal postseason streak alive. As the rest of the Western Conference seems to fluctuate, it could be a smart play for the Spurs to take a chance on Cousins, who they can probably snag on a cheap deal. Should he recapture his powers, then all of a sudden a core of DeMar DeRozan, LaMarcus Aldridge and Cousins could be capable of making noise in 2019-20.
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Golden State Warriors
WITH Kevin Durant now gone and Klay Thompson sidelined for a big stint of the season why not return to Dub Nation? Due to financial restrictions, the maximum amount Golden State can pay Cousins is a one-season deal worth $6.4 million, but clearly, as he showed last season, money isn’t the highest priority for Boogie. He took a gamble last year that didn’t quite pay off, but with a full offseason under his belt, Cousins could emerge as Stephen Curry’s sidekick next year (no offense D’Angelo Russell) and help the Warriors stay squarely in the playoff race.
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