All-Star center DeMarcus Cousins, recovering from a torn left Achilles, has agreed to a one-year, $5.3 million deal with the two-time defending champion Golden State Warriors, league sources told ESPN.
Joining the Warriors, who already have a staggering lineup of All-NBA talent, should allow Cousins enough time to comfortably recover from his injury prior to returning to the court next season.
Cousins, who averaged 25.2 points, 12.9 rebounds and 5.4 assists and shot 35.4 percent on 3-pointers last season in 48 games, told The Undefeated’s Marc J. Spears he was confused and hurt that he had no offers, even from the Pelicans.
Cousins told Spears that he called his agent and they discussed various options, including the Warriors, who lost center JaVale McGee in free agency to the Los Angeles Lakers. Sources told ESPN’s Chris Haynes that Cousins had narrowed his choices down to Golden State and Boston.
On Monday, Cousins called Warriors president of basketball operations Bob Myers to discuss joining the team.
“This is my ace of spades,” Cousins said. “This is my chess move.”
“Every guy was excited,” he said.
The conversations sealed the deal, Cousins said, and he called Myers around 8 p.m. ET to say he would sign.
Golden State used its taxpayer midlevel exception to reach a deal with Cousins, who underwent surgery in late January to repair the torn Achilles. He has been rehabilitating the injury and told Spears he is aiming to be recovered by training camp.
The move gives Cousins an outstanding chance to recover from his injury, show he is healthy and rejoin the free-agent market next summer. This year’s market had dried up on Cousins, who struggled to find a team willing to give him a long-term contract at the kind of max-level salary that he would’ve received prior to the injury.
The Warriors, already -110 favorites to win the 2019 NBA championship at the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook, jumped to -150 favorites when Cousins’ impending signing was reported.
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the 2018-19 Warriors will be the sixth team in NBA history — and first since the 1975-76 Celtics — to have five All-Stars from the previous season.