DeMarcus Cousins’ partnership with the Warriors always has been assumed to be a one-year affair.
Coach Steve Kerr has made it clear that Boogie would be one-and-done in Golden State, and his Warriors teammates knew this was the presumed agreement when Cousins joined the back-to-back NBA champions last summer.
But perhaps not so fast?
Marc Stein of the New York Times says a "wise insider" believes Cousins would be willing to stay in Golden State for another season in hopes of rebuilding his value after suffering a torn Achilles almost one year ago.
Given the Warriors currently have Cousins signed to a one-year, $5.3 million contract, the NBA’s collective bargaining agreement states that the Dubs can only offer Cousins a 20 percent raise -- up to $6.4 million -- for the 2019-2020 season.
If Boogie looks anything like the superstar who dominated last season with the New Orleans Pelicans -- remember, he averaged an astounding 25.2 points, 12.9 rebounds, and 5.4 assists per game -- he’ll command much more than that on the open market this summer.
If Cousins struggles this season, on the other hand, the Warriors seemingly would want to allocate their money elsewhere next season.
However, Stein implies there is a middle ground where Cousins is productive enough for the Warriors to want him back but still not quite good enough to command the maximum contract he'd get when healthy.
There still are a lot of factors at play that will dictate Cousins' future with the team, most importantly the free agency decisions of teammates Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson. If one or both stars were to leave the Warriors this summer, the team’s offseason priorities drastically would change.
The Warriors, of course, still are waiting for Cousins to make his season debut. He’s been scrimmaging and appears close to playing, although no timetable has been set for his return.
It’s still likely that Cousins will end up elsewhere after the season, but perhaps it isn’t the foregone conclusion we all assumed.