According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, there is no market for Cousins. The four-time All-Star received the mid-level exception with the Warriors last season, but Wojnarowski added that he may not even get that despite expecting a hefty one-year deal when free agency began.
From where Cousins was just 18 months or so ago, this is an extraordinary position to be in. It is possible that he will be forced to settle for a veterans’ minimum somewhere as he looks to rebuild value ahead of an underwhelming 2020 free agency class.
Here are four teams who should make a move for Cousins if he ends up being available on minimum…
Putting Kanter and Cousins on the same team would certainly be interesting. While Cousins is inconsistent, and is just as defensively flawed as Kanter, his upside is higher and he would give Brad Stevens another starting option at centre. With the Celtics likely to face Giannis Antetokounmpo and/or Joel Embiid in the postseason, they need all the big bodies they can get after waving goodbye to Al Horford and Aron Baynes.
It’s an outside shot, for sure, but Boston should be considering it.
The Heat pulled off a real coup by completing a sign-and-trade for Jimmy Butler, while also getting off of Hassan Whiteside’s contract. The cost of the move, though, was sending Josh Richardson to the Sixers.
The impressive Bam Adebayo is the current starting centre. Should Cousins want to go to Miami, though, there would surely be plenty of minutes for him. The Heat risk being left in the lower seeds in the Eastern Conference – they desperately require upside to give them a chance of troubling Indiana and Boston.
Putting Cousins and Butler together could result in some fireworks, but it might just end up being a match made in heaven. On a minimum deal, Miami should be jumping at the opportunity, it’s the only way they can become a threat in the East.
The Clippers are seemingly the outsiders for Leonard at the time of writing. Their offseason promised such great things, but it risks falling awfully short.
A recovering Cousins wouldn’t make up for striking out in free agency. He would, however, provide scoring and star power that the Clippers need. Throwing the outspoken two-time All-NBA centre into that lockeroom would be a bit of a gamble, but it’s one worth taking for a Clippers team that risks being stuck between rebuild and genuine contention.
As the wait for Kawhi Leonard’s decision continues, the Lakers are left with a bare roster. Signings are not happening because they need to keep cap space for Leonard, and if they do land the Finals MVP, they will be left to pick players up on minimum.
Reuniting Cousins with his former Pelicans teammate Anthony Davis makes a lot of sense, though Cousins might not be too keen on a move where he’s almost certain to come off the bench. It perhaps is more probable if Leonard opts to go elsewhere, giving Cousins more of a chance to start games in the frontcourt with Davis.
It feels like a longshot, but with the Lakers short on players and free agents going off the board quickly, anything is possible.