The New Orleans Pelicans will reportedly not trade DeMarcus Cousins before the NBA Trade Deadline. Just don’t expect anything from the San Antonio Spurs in free agency, either.
No, the San Antonio Spurs were never linked to DeMarcus Cousins in rumors or reports. However, as a potential free-agent addition, he could have appealed to a team that hosted a dominant center for parts of three decades, especially as Pau Gasol ages.
On Monday, ESPN.com’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported the New Orleans Pelicans will not trade Cousins at the February NBA Trade Deadline. Instead, the organization will try to re-sign him in the summer.
It’s a risk to wait until the summer or when free agency opens on July 1. That goes for any team that wants to re-sign its own player, including someone of Cousins’ caliber. Any team with the necessary cap space will pursue him, which could take an average annual salary of over $30 million. He could take a “discount,” but with the potential for this to be “Boogie’s” biggest contract ever, expect him to sign one of the 2018 offseason’s largest deals.
Right there, that takes the Spurs out of the running. Even if Rudy Gay, Danny Green and Joffrey Lauvergne opt out of their respective contracts.
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There was the potential for 2018 to be an intriguing offseason for San Antonio. LaMarcus Aldridge had the ability to opt out and Pau Gasol would have become a free agent. If both left, approximately $37 million in cap space opens and allows the front office to target an elite player, like Cousins or Paul George.
Before the season started, however, the Spurs gave Aldridge a contract extension. Gasol, with the intention to re-sign, opted out of the final year of his deal and received a three-year, $45 million deal.
At the time, the Aldridge decision was curious. He went through a tumultuous offseason, and after trade rumors, it seemed 2017-18 would be his final year in the Alamo City. About four months later, that’s no longer the case, as without the soon-to-be six-time All-Star’s inspired and rejuvenated play, who knows where they would be in the standings? It’s due to the prolonged absence of Kawhi Leonard, who missed nearly two months with a quad ailment, and just returned to the injured list.
Gasol’s case is another story, but even without Aldridge’s contract and with the former’s, the Spurs would not have room for Cousins.
Is it possible the Silver and Black get mentioned in connection to Cousins? Sure, why not? It’s nothing new for the NBA rumor mill, which sees handfuls of players tied to half-a-dozen teams, more or less. Just like the Chris Paul rumors from June, it may not mean anything.
On July 1, Cousins will potentially hit the open market without a contract. That’s good news for anyone with over $30 million in cap space and puts the Pelicans at risk of losing him. If the Kentucky product stays in the Western Conference, the Spurs will deal with him for 3-5 more years. If not, he will move near the top of a weak Eastern Conference. Either way, it should be an interesting storyline.