NBA Free Agency Tracker

LeBron James and DeMarcus Cousins

NBA Free Agency is a wild period with deals flowing in left and right. Don’t worry, we have all the deals covered for you in one spot. Check out the NBA Free Agency Tracker below!

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DeMarcus Cousins Free Agency Options

DeMarcus Cousins

While LeBron James and Paul George grab all the headlines for this year’s free agency frenzy, DeMarcus Cousins is an interesting name to watch. Coming off a torn Achilles injury that he suffered in January, Cousins might have a problem securing a long-term contract at the maximum value.

Based off the reported $101 million dollar cap figured for the 2018-2019 season, Cousins’ maximum starting salary is $30.3 million dollars in the first year. There are several teams who could create the cap space in order to sign him to a max deal. However, many of them aren’t likely suitors for him, forcing him either to return to the Pelicans on their terms or work out a sign-and-trade.

 

Sacramento Kings & Philadelphia 76ers

For obvious reasons, neither of these teams will bring in Cousins. There is obviously bad blood between the Kings organization and Cousins. While the 76ers have no need for Cousins as Joel Embiid is entering the first year of his new contract.

 

Los Angeles Lakers

They aren’t likely to sign Cousins given their focus on LeBron James, Kawhi Leonard and Paul George. Even if they strike out on all three, they will likely save their cap space for next summer’s free agency class.

 

Chicago Bulls

The drafting of Wendell Carter Jr. combined with Lauri Markkanen and Robin Lopez, there simply isn’t a need for Cousins. Instead the Bulls are likely to use their cap space to re-sign Zach LaVine and take on bad contracts via trade in order to acquire more draft picks.

 

Atlanta Hawks

In total rebuild mode, the Hawks have no plans to sign Cousins. They are reportedly planning on using their cap space to take on bad contracts in exchange for draft picks.

 

Indiana Pacers

There was a chance that the Pacers would sign Cousins but with Thaddeus Young opting into his deal for the 2018-2019 season, and with the report that the Pacers plan to target Magic restricted free agent Aaron Gordon with a max offer; the Pacers aren’t an option for Cousins anymore.

 

Dallas Mavericks

Many expected the Mavericks to be the favorite to sign Cousins. However, they have turned their focus to DeAndre Jordan. Assuming Jordan ends up in Dallas on July 1st, Cousins will have one less suitor.

According to reports, Cousins is likely to return to the Pelicans on a two-year deal. Given the lack of other free agent options, this may be the best spot for Cousins. Things could fall apart if Cousins is determined to get a max value deal and the Pelicans don’t want to risk that kind of money given the Achilles injury. This would leave Cousins forced to find a team willing to do a sign-and-trade with the Pelicans.

DeAndre Jordan
New York Post

Boston Celtics

Potential Trade: Gordon Hayward for Cousins.

Reportedly, the Celtics have had talks with the Spurs to trade for Kawhi Leonard but refuse to trade Jaylen Brown or Jason Tatum in the deal. The Celtics view them as future superstars and want to keep both. In order to reach their ceilings, both will need plenty of playing time. That means Hayward could be on his way out of town. If the Celtics want to play Al Horford more at power toward this season, they could convince the Pelicans to swap Hayward for Cousins. The Pelicans need a wing scorer and could throw out a line-up of Rajon Rondo, Jrue Holiday, Hayward, Nikola Mirotic,  and Anthony Davis. While the Celtics could roll out a line-up that stacks up to the Warriors with Kyrie Irving, Brown, Tatum, Horford, and Cousins.

 

Washington Wizards

Potential Trade: Otto Porter Jr., Jason Smith, Jodie Meeks, future first-round pick for Cousins.

After the Wizards traded Marcin Gortat away, the team is clearly not done re-making the center position. Rumors have been out there that John Wall wants to play with Cousins again after their time at Kentucky. While the Wizards are over the cap and luxury tax, which will make a sign-and-trade very difficult, they could make it happen. Much like in the Celtics deal, the Wizards could offer the Pelicans a wing player with 3&D ability in Porter and two serviceable veterans on expiring contracts. Since Hayward is clearly a better player than Porter is, the Wizards would have to offer a future first-round pick in the deal as well. If LeBron James goes to the Western Conference, a Wizards team with a trio of Wall, Bradley Beal and a healthy Cousins should be one of the favorites to come out of the east.

 

Cousins could try to work out a sign-and-trade somewhere else but the Celtics and Wizards are the two teams that could offer the best packages back to the Pelicans. Cousins could take a mid-level exception somewhere if the Pelicans won’t facilitate a sign-and-trade, but that has almost no chance of happening.

In the end, the odds are that Cousins re-signs with the Pelicans on a short-term max money deal, allowing both parties to see how Cousins bounces back from the Achilles injury while allowing him to sign a long-term deal in a year or two. However, the Wizards should be viewed as a dark horse team that could work out a sign-and-trade deal to pair up Cousins with his Kentucky teammate Wall as the team is at a breaking point.

Check out Free Agent Deep Dive: Boogie Cousins here!

How the Lakers can get LeBron, Kawhi, and PG13

LeBron James and Paul George

NBA free agency is heating up. The rumors are in full force, especially with the Lakers. Talks between the San Antonio Spurs and the Los Angeles Lakers on Kawhi Leonard are intensifying. LeBron James has also officially declined his player option for next season making him an unrestricted free agent. Paul George did the same with his player option yesterday, as he is also an unrestricted free agent. Those three names: LeBron, PG13, and Kawhi have been rumored to the Los Angeles Lakers. But, is it possible for L.A. to get all three of them to create a new super team to contend with the Warriors? The short answer is yes. Let’s get into how the Lakers can get LeBron, Kawhi, and PG13.

 

The Lakers have to blow up the entire roster and then some to land these three stars. The first thing the Lakers would have to do is use the stretch provision on Luol Deng. The stretch provision would reduce Deng’s cap to $7.4 million this season. However, there is a downside to stretching Deng. Using the stretch option on Deng means L.A. would pay him the $7.4 million per year through the 2022/23 season. Yikes.

Luol Deng
USA Today Sports

After L.A. stretches Deng, they literally have to renounce every cap hold they have this summer and trade their entire roster so nothing is left. If the Lakers were to do this, they would have enough money to trade for Kawhi Leonard, sign LeBron, and sign Paul George. However, one of LeBron or George would have to take a $400,000 paycut to make it work, which shouldn’t be a problem. If for some reason the Lakers wind up with these three stars, they would now need to fulfill over 10 open roster spots with guys on minimum deals. Who are some possibilities?

 

Players like Lance Stephenson, Jamal Crawford, Corey Brewer, Dante Cunningham, Devin Harris, Quincy Acy, Ersan Ilyasova, Greg Monroe, Marco Belinelli, and Michael Beasley could be viable minimum players. However, do these players surround the new L.A. big three with enough talent to beat Golden State?

 

The Lakers can theoretically acquire a new big three, but it comes at a cost. The Lakers might not be able to surround the big three with enough talent to beat the Warriors anyway. So, it might be smarter to go hard after two guys and surround them with quality role players.

Free Agency Devastation

LeBron James Heat

NBA free agency is almost here and with it brings the anticipation of new players your team might bring into the fold. It provides the ultimate joy when the superstar player chooses your team. That feeling of being chosen by someone so talented and powerful is only trumped by the thought of what is to come next. Then, there is the other side of free agency. The emotions of agony and anxiousness as the pillar of your franchise faces that giant fork in the road. One turn, continues a familiar journey with the same team and fan base he has guided for so long and the other is leaving it behind for a new challenge and what he might deem to be greener pastures. Just like the exhilaration of being chosen by the star is powerful, the feeling of getting left behind is just as strong. While this mass player movement is a relatively new phenomenon in the NBA, in this article we are going to dive into the five most devastating free agency decisions ever.  

 

5. Carlos Boozer, 2004

Boozer makes this list for two reasons. First, this was one of the greatest double crosses in NBA history. Cleveland had decided to make Boozer a restricted free agent in order to sign him to a long-term deal the two sides had agreed upon. Reports are that Boozer and then Cavs GM John Paxson even shook on a deal, but then Utah comes with an offer the Cavs can’t match due to salary cap rules at the time. Boozer runs out of Cleveland and has a great run with Utah. Secondly, if Boozer had decided to stay, the entire NBA landscape might have turned out differently. People forget how good Boozer actually was. This is a guy who averaged 19 and 10 in his six seasons in Utah. Add Boozer’s prime years with those Cavs teams and they might have had more success therefore erasing LeBron’s departure.

 

4. Steve Nash, 2004

We have a second 2004 free agency appearance here as Steve Nash decided to take his awe-inspiring passes to Phoenix. Mark Cuban passed on giving Nash a long-term contract at age 30 and Phoenix swooped in with a six-year deal. While Dallas fans never loved Nash like Dirk, it has to be hard watching your star PG leave and win two MVP awards and steal headlines for years with his incredible passes. While some will point to Mike D’Antoni’s system in why Nash exploded I still think Mark Cuban would like to take this decision back.

 

3. Shaquille O’Neal, 1996

The Magic won 60 games and made the NBA Finals in Shaq’s last year. The team was looking ahead to a bright future with a then 24-year-old Shaq at the helm. The Lakers that summer had already made a significant move trading for the rights to someone named Kobe Bryant and then went out and outbid Orlando for the superstar center. Shaq signed a seven-year, $120 million contract and the rest is history. This plummeted Orlando into a sea of mediocrity for several years and then bottoming out in the 2003-04 season with a measly 21 wins before being fortunate enough to draft a young man named Dwight Howard. I would feel even worse for Orlando, but they have Disney World so I don’t feel as bad.

Shaq Lakers
Bleacher Report

2. LeBron James, 2010

While this was technically a sign-and-trade between Miami and Cleveland, it makes the list considering there was an hour long television show just for James to announce he was leaving “The Land.” This one stung. King James took those talents to South Beach and left behind a truly devastated fan base. You always know when a players departure hits home hard when the reaction upon their first return is as hostile as the one James endured. Not only that, but the letter from Dan Gilbert only fueled the fire in Cleveland’s agony. The Cavs immediately became one of the worst teams in the league and were unwatchable the next season.  

 

1. Kevin Durant, 2016

This one was truly crushing. This one tops the list because Kevin Durant’s departure meant not only pain for OKC, but for the entire league. The entire NBA world was disappointed in this decision and after the last two seasons we can see why. The NBA is as scripted as ever with Durant leaving to form the ultimate super team in Golden State, and they show little signs of slowing down. Durant left a title contending team with as passionate a fanbase as there is in the NBA to switch on to the squad who just came back down 3-1 to beat him. If that isn’t a gut-punch to fans, I don’t know what is.

 

There it is. That’s the list. As free agency soon begins, I hope none of you are devastated in the ways these five moves made their fans feel. However, it is free agency which spells joy for one and doom for another. Good luck, have fun and may the free agency gods be ever in your favor.

Minnesota Timberwolves Free Agency Preview

Jimmy Butler and Karl-Anthony Towns

The 2018 NBA Draft has come and gone. The Minnesota Timberwolves had an effective draft filling a need for wing versatility. The Wolves took Josh Okogie with their first-round selection, and with their 48th pick, they selected Keita Bates-Diop out of THE Ohio State. Okogie and Bates-Diop give the Wolves wing versatility, an area they lacked in last season. The two rookies will have to earn playing time this season, but they should be given every opportunity. However, now that the NBA Draft is over, it’s time to focus on free agency.

While the Wolves selected two wings last week in the draft, there is still a need for another veteran wing. The Wolves need to continue to add shooting, defense, and toughness (the word Thibs likes best.) The Wolves can fulfill these needs with a number of players, so let’s break down the many directions Minnesota can go.

 

Avery Bradley

Avery Bradley has been the most talked about name in social media for Wolves fans, besides my #LBJTOMN campaign that is absolutely going to happen. Bradley is a veteran wing who checks all the boxes for the Wolves’ needs. Avery Bradley had a down year last season with the Pistons and Clippers, which is why we are even able to consider him an option with the mid-level exception. Bradley is a top-notch defender in the NBA and can shut down some of the league’s best scoring threats. Check out Bradley below staying in the jersey of Steph Curry for an entire possession, that’s no joke. In addition, Bradley has proven to be a solid three-point threat. He shot 37% from three last season after shooting 39% from three with Boston two years ago. Bradley would be a welcome addition to the Wolves’ bench. In addition, Thibs would not be afraid to play Bradley. His experience in the league makes him the type of player that would log considerable minutes with the Wolves, even off the bench.

Avery Bradley Defense

Trevor Ariza

Ariza may prove to be too expensive for the Wolves at the MLE; however, he would be a great fit. As we all know, Ariza can knock down threes, something the Wolves can’t do. Hitting on 36.8% of his threes last season, Ariza has put himself in the conversation as a three-point sniper. In addition, he plays solid defense. Ariza won’t be a game-changing player in terms of scoring 20 points a game; however, he would give the Wolves what they need off the bench. Checking all the boxes on the Wolves’ free agency needs, Ariza would fit right in with Minnesota.

 

Will Barton

Will Barton is instant offense. Barton can enter a game and immediately make an impact scoring the basketball. He’s not a top-level defender by any means, but he doesn’t necessarily hurt his team on defense either. As a matter of fact, Barton actually had a positive number in terms of defensive win shares for the Nuggets last season. If the price is right and Barton is willing to play for Thibs, Barton would be a great fit for the Wolves, especially if there are serious about shooting more threes and less mid-range shots. Take a look at where Barton is taking shots from over the last three seasons. He’s trending towards more threes and less mid-range shots, just what the Wolves are looking to do.

Will Barton Graphic
Basketball Reference

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope is a great, young 3-and-D player in the league. Caldwell-Pope still has potential to be a solid starter in the NBA. He would fit in nicely with the Wolves off the bench, but he may be looking for a bigger role. Minnesota might not be the best landing spot for KCP even though he would be a great bench addition.

 

Joe Harris

Joe Harris can shoot the rock. He shot 41.9% from three with the Brooklyn Nets last season on 4.6 attempts per game. That is no joke. He’s not a terrific defender, but his shooting is very enticing to a team that finished last in three-point attempts last season. You can’t tell me you don’t want this smooth shooting sniper on your team knocking down treys off the pine.

Joe Harris Three

Lance Stephenson

We are now getting into more “Plan B” options for the Wolves if all of their first options fall through. After being released by the Pacers, it would not surprise me to see Stephenson back in a Wolves uniform. Stephenson had a very short, but appealing stint with the Wolves two years ago before sustaining a season-ending injury in a game against the Cavs. Head coach Tom Thibodeau seemed to enjoy the energy and defensive effort that Stephenson brought in his Wolves stint. He is a Thibs type of player. He’s not great on offense, but is an energy player that plays great defense and brings toughness. While he’s not option one, if other plans fall apart, Stephenson would not be a terrible backup plan for Minnesota.

 

Seth Curry

Another pure scorer and shooter. Curry isn’t going to play a lot of defense, but he can fill it up on the offensive side of the ball. Curry didn’t appear in any games last season because of injury, so it would be a risk for the Wolves to sign him. However, if he’s willing to come on a cheaper deal, he can be an effective scorer off the bench for Minnesota. Plus, we would get a Curry. Something we needed in 2009. Sorry Johnny Flynn.

 

Doug McDermott

Like Seth Curry, McDermott is a pure shooter. McDermott found his groove late in the season with Dallas shooting 49.4% from three in his 26 games with the Mavs. His ability to fill it up from beyond the arc would be a welcome sight to Wolves fans. Just imagine McDermott doing this off the bench in Target Center.

Doug McDermott Three

Corey Brewer

Fans in Minnesota love Corey Brewer. There are few players in the league that play harder than Brewer does. Brewer would bring instant energy off the bench and force the Timberwolves to play faster. Brewer loves to get out and run. Who remembers Kevin Love slingshotting those full-court outlets to Brewer jetting down the court? Brewer wouldn’t provide much of a shooting threat, but Brewer checks the energy and defense boxes.

Corey Brewer

Jerami Grant

Jerami Grant’s name originates from the latest episode of “The Scoop” with Darren Wolfson. Wolfson noted to keep an eye on Grant, especially if the Wolves strike out on some targets early on. Grant is very athletic and plays with a load of energy. However, he isn’t a good three-point shooter. He shot just 29.1% from deep last season while attempting less than two threes per game. While Grant isn’t a household name, his energy and effort provide enticing upside for Minnesota’s bench.

 

There are a lot of options for the Wolves this summer to improve their team and especially their bench. Thibs will need to be able to convince guys to come and play from the Wolves when it’s well-known that Thibs doesn’t like to play his bench. However, money speaks loudest, and if the Wolves offer their full MLE to someone at the right amount of years, they will get a useful player. In addition to filling out the bench with a free agent, the Wolves also have some in-house tasks to take care of in free agency.

 

Nemanja Bjelica

The Timberwolves can make Bjelica a restricted free agent by extending the qualifying offer to him, which they haven’t done yet. Unless everything unravels for Minnesota, I don’t see Bjelica back with the team. He’s a valuable player with versatility and shooting, but he was not happy with the lack of minutes he got, especially in the playoffs.

 

Derrick Rose

Derrick Rose will almost certainly be back with the Wolves next season, but at how much money? Many fans are hopeful Minnesota can ink Rose to a veteran minimum contract, which would be good value. Although Rose has an injury history, he was valuable to Minnesota last season, especially in the postseason. Rose averaged 14.2 points per game in the series against the Rockets and did so while shooting 70% from three-point range. It should be a safe bet that Rose is back with the team this summer and hopefully do more of this next season.

Derrick Rose Pass

Karl-Anthony Towns

KAT is up for an extension this summer, and the Wolves will reportedly move quickly to secure their franchise big man. Towns will be offered a full five-year max contract that everyone anticipates he will sign. Players don’t turn down max money off of their rookie scale contracts, it just doesn’t happen. It will be key for the Wolves to lock up Towns this summer, so they can put it behind them. If everything goes smoothly, Towns will be secured in Minnesota for the next six seasons.

 

Jimmy Butler

There is reason for the Wolves to try and extend Jimmy Butler this summer; however, there is not much of a reason for Butler to do so. Butler can get more money by waiting to sign next summer, with or without the Wolves. But, if the Wolves can somehow secure Butler to an extension this summer, it would be a major win. However, with recent reports of Butler’s uncertainty of playing next to Wiggins, it doesn’t look likely that Butler will agree to an extension this summer.

 

The Timberwolves are in an interesting spot this off-season. They have the mid-level exception to use to their advantage. They have a chance to greatly improve their basketball team to put themselves in a position for a run in 2018/19. However, it’s also a risky off-season. If the team doesn’t shape out in a way to put a good product on the floor next season, Thibs’ job could be on the line, and Jimmy Butler could be on his way out of town. Prepare your emotions and get ready for an exciting free agency period.

Check out all Timberwolves posts on their team page! Click here.

Bizarre NBA Contract Facts

Josh Smith

On Monday afternoon, I tweeted out a Bismack Biyombo contract fact on ProCity Hoops. The fact was that Biyombo was paid $17 million last season. If we break that up by how much he earned per point scored, he earned about $36,325 for every point he scored. The response to the tweet was great, and people were interested to hear about more bizarre NBA contract facts. So, let’s rattle off a list of some of the most bizarre NBA contract facts.

 

  • Kevin Martin will make about $1.4 million from the Minnesota Timberwolves next season. Martin retired from the NBA in 2016.
  • The Atlanta Hawks paid 18 players money last season that were not on their team. This money mostly comes from buyouts. Some of the names include Jamal Crawford, Marco Belinelli, Richard Jefferson, and more.
  • Remember Josh Smith? The Detroit Pistons owe him $5.4 million per year for the next two seasons.
  • Paul Pierce was paid $1.1 million by the Clippers last season. Pierce also had his jersey retired last season.
  • Danilo Gallinari made about $20.6 million with the Clippers last season. He scored a total of 321 points throughout the season. That means, Gallinari made roughly $64,174 for every point he scored.
  • The Milwaukee Bucks owe Larry Sanders $1.9 million every year through the 2021/22 NBA season.
  • The Portland Trail Blazers have to pay Andrew Nicholson $2.8 million each season until the end of the 2022/23 season.
  • The Cleveland Cavaliers have no current players under contract for the 2020/21 season other than Ante Zizic, who has a team option.
  • Luol Deng made $17.2 million last season while appearing in just one game. He scored two points in that game, meaning he made about $8.6 million per point scored.
  • The Washington Wizards will be required to pay Martell Webster $830,000 next season. Webster has not appeared in an NBA game since the 2014/15 season.
  • The Brooklyn Nets owe Deron Williams $11 million total over the course of the next two seasons.
  • The Grizzlies have about $83.2 million tied up between Marc Gasol, Mike Conley, and Chandler Parsons for the 2019/20 season.
  • Omer Asik made $10.6 million last season while scoring a total of four points. That equivalates to Asik making $2.65 million per point scored last season.
  • The Indiana Pacers have to pay Monta Ellis $2.25 million per year for the next four seasons.
  • The New York Knicks paid Joakim Noah $17.8 million last season. With Noah appearing in just seven games, he earned about $2.5 million per game he played in last season.

 

There are obviously a lot more bizarre and bad contracts in the NBA, but these are the 15 that stuck out to me to start. There is potential to do a part two in this series with the amount bizarre contracts the NBA currently has! Comment below if you would like to see a part two!

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Free Agent Deep Dive: Boogie Cousins

DeMarcus Cousins

With all this LeBron and Kawhi drama going on, Boogie Cousins is sitting somewhere like “Uh Guys, remember me? I’m pretty good and also a free agent…”

Cousins’ next deal (and injury recovery) would be the biggest story of the summer if it weren’t for those two pesky forwards. I know some are worried about Boogie’s achilles tear. After all, it has been well reported that people do not usually return to their former self after an injury like this. Check out what The Ringer had to say about it:

ringer achilles.PNG

Do not fret, I have done some research and am here to reassure you that signing Cousins to the max will be a good deal. In fact, I have five good reasons.

1. The Pre-Injury Season Was Unbelievable 

Allow me to roll off some statistics that were all career highs for Boogie:

eFG% (53%)

RBs     (12.9)

2P%     (53%)

Stocks (3.2, tied)

TS%    (58%)

Asts     (5.4)

There was some legitimate MVP talk for Cousins before he went down with injury. The Pelicans were doing just fine in the West and starting to click. Not only did it seem as though Boogie learned to coexist with AD but, it appeared as though he was reaching peak form. His efficiency was the highest we have ever seen.

Pretend Cousins returns as only 85% of the player he once was, it would still be an excellent player. Look at the stats and feel encouraged that he was trending north towards more efficient basketball.

boogie season stats.PNG

2. Aging Well

While he is still only 27-years-old, Boogie has been aging the way you would want a monstrosity of a center to age.

This is important to monitor as his achilles tear will certainly impact part of his game. Still, this year’s stats show that an achilles tear may not have as large as an impact as once thought. Boogie has relied less on his burst than ever before, and his shot selection shows it.

boogie good stats.PNG

Woah. Look at all the lines and arrows and highlighting. Let me explain this to you. This year Boogie took 37% of his shots from 0-3 feet and 34% of his shots from three. More importantly; however, is how he has taken less mid-range and short-range shots. Cousins takes only 4.1% of his shots from 10-16 feet6.9% of his shots from 16 ❤ feet, and 17% of his shots from 3-10 feet. Overall, Cousins is spending more time right at the rim or behind the arc, and less time shooting from spots that provide the least value.

How does this mesh with his ruptured achilles, and therefore presumable lack of burst?

Cousins has maximized his point value by taking shots from the most efficient spots on the court. This will neutralize the physical limitations his achilles tear will have on his game. Boogie also spends a lot of time with the ball in his hands. In fact, Cousins had the ball in his hands for 2.59 seconds on average, second for the center position behind Julius Randle. What does this mean? Cousins does not rely heavily on things that require much burst, such as alley-oops, backdoor cuts, and pindown actions. He is a methodic, ball handling big who has a style of play an achilles tear may not disrupt.

3. Achilles Tear? Boogie Can’t Jump Anyways

Surely, this tear will limit Boogie’s verticality. His ability to elevate may shrink by 3-4 inches. Fortunately, this will not be a big factor for Cousins, as he can’t jump anyways!

Cousins had one of the worst max verts for centers in combine history (27.5) inches. FiveThirtyEight reported that Cousins is always among league leaders in players getting blocked. When asked about it, Cousins responded that it was “because I can’t jump.”

So here is the point. Boogie’s verticality was a negative factor for him before the injury. Will potentially losing a few inches on his vertical really have a major impact on this non-jumper? I think not.

4. Style of Play Mitigates the Impact of an Achilles Tear

Ah, it is finally time to get into the meat and potatoes of this discussion. Who is Demarcus Cousins? What is his style of play?

Boogie has never relied on quickness to score buckets. Contrarily, he has relied on bullying his opponents with his size. What makes him special is not his quick feet but, his nimble feet. Trust me, there is a huge difference. Cousins moves like a ballerina from someone his size. Watch him utilize his strength and nimble feet in this gif.

Boogie nimble and strong.gif

Does he blow by anyone? Nope. Instead, he actually slows down to use a nifty crossover to get past Denzel Valentine. Then he initiates contact with Bobby Portis, which creates the separation he needs to get his shot off, despite having limited lift. The guy is a physical beast who moves like Jerry Rice. An achilles tear will take away from his quickness; however, it won’t stop plays like this from punishing opponents repeatedly.

When he has a favorable mismatch, Cousins will pick on the little guy until he gets a good shot. Check out him flinging around the 210 pound, muscular David Nwaba like he’s a 6th grader. After watching the film, I was surprised at how often Cousins plays bully ball. Yet, he has the soft touch to make opponents pay.

boogie bully.gif

Here is one more for you. Does Cousins simply blow by Nurkic? Negative. He simply bumps him out of the way, ignoring the fact that Nurkic is literally 280 pounds! Would a torn achilles disallow Boogie from doing this against just about every other center in the league?

Boogie Nurkic.gif

As Cousins ages, he will rely more on the DHO (dribble handoff) game. He does this a bunch, as it utilizes his big frame for screen setting. Cousins has turned into a masterful popper on the DHO, and buries sagging defenders from beyond the arc. This part of his game should be unaffected from the injury.

5. What other Options do the Pelicans Have?

I know. I hate this rationale too. But, it is a fair question to ask.

New Orleans has not been known for attracting too many free agents. To acquire talent, they have traded for their other stars or starters (Boogie, Holiday, Mirotic.) As GM Daryl Morey is fond of talking about, teams must up their risk profile to beat the Warriors. The NBA is all about acquiring top-end talent; talent that can take you to the finals. If not Boogie, then who?

At his best, Cousins is an MVP candidate, All-NBA center and top-10 player in this league. He is a matchup nightmare for teams, and when engaged, even plays a little defense. His offense is good enough that it makes up for his defensive deficiencies, allowing coaches to leave him on the court versus small lineups. We will have to wait and see if his leash gets shortened as teams single him out during postseason PnRs.

The injury concern is a reasonable aspect to consider. I get it. Yet, Boogie’s game has never relied heavily on a quick first step and burst, something an achilles tear seems to impact the most. Yes, defensively he will probably get even worse. Thankfully, he has Rondo, Holiday and AD to help him through this part of his game.

The Verdict

Give my man the max. It is a risk, but one that New Orleans has to take. Their window is now. They do not have any promising young assets, picks or future cap space. Place your trust in perhaps the most untrustable man in basketball. He’ll be good for it.

Disagree? Tell me why? @Mattesposito_