Warriors acquire DeMarcus Cousins

FILE+-+In+this+Jan.+10%2C+2018+file+photo+New+Orleans+Pelicans+center+DeMarcus+Cousins+%280%29+shoots+a+free+throw+in+the+first+half+of+an+NBA+basketball+game+against+the+Memphis+Grizzlies+in+Memphis%2C+Tenn.+Cousins+will+be+ready+to+play+at+some+point+this+season.+And+when+he+is%2C+the+two-time+defending+NBA+champions+will+be+waiting.+Adding+a+fifth+All-Star+to+their+already+glitzy+lineup%2C+the+Golden+State+Warriors+have+come+to+terms+with+Cousins+on+a+one-year%2C+%245.3+million+deal+_+not+the+biggest+money+move+on+Day+2+of+the+NBA+Free+Agency+period%2C+but+the+most+intriguing.+%28AP+Photo%2FBrandon+Dill%2C+file%29

FILE – In this Jan. 10, 2018 file photo New Orleans Pelicans center DeMarcus Cousins (0) shoots a free throw in the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Memphis Grizzlies in Memphis, Tenn. Cousins will be ready to play at some point this season. And when he is, the two-time defending NBA champions will be waiting. Adding a fifth All-Star to their already glitzy lineup, the Golden State Warriors have come to terms with Cousins on a one-year, $5.3 million deal _ not the biggest money move on Day 2 of the NBA Free Agency period, but the most intriguing. (AP Photo/Brandon Dill, file)

By Michael Urbanec

The NBA was blindsided when four time all star and two time All-NBA selection DeMarcus Cousins signed a one year, $5.3M deal with the defending NBA champions Golden State Warriors.

Cousins suffered an achilles tear at the end of December that will presumably keep him on the injury report until November, and Cousins’ people are pushing the narrative that he had no other offers on the table.

“League sources say they remain Cousins fans but felt they had to pass on signing him now — even at a reduced rate — because the Lakers don’t share the Warriors’ luxury of waiting until January or February for Cousins’ return from injury,” said New York Times reporter Marc Stein on Twitter.

Cousins had a two year, $40M contract extension offer from the New Orleans Pelicans before his injury. He rejected the offer to try and get a longer term, more lucrative deal in free agency. He averaged 25.2 points and 12.9 rebounds per game before his injury for the Pelicans last season.

LeBron James signing a four year, $154M deal with the Los Angeles Lakers was the initial shock of free agency, but after bringing a championship to the Cleveland Cavaliers, the backlash of his initial exit in 2010.

James joins the Lakers promising young core, but a possible trade for San Antonio Spur Kawhi Leonard could dismantle it. The Spurs are requesting king’s ransom for Leonard, a bonafide superstar, former two time Defensive Player of the Year and the youngest Finals MVP in the league’s history. Former second draft pick Brandon Ingram and former first draft pick Lonzo Ball could be on the table. The Lakers have to decide whether they want to trade future success for current success.

While changes might have the most impact of the NBA free agency, the players who decided to stay put can define a franchise’s direction.

Paul George announced at a party hosted by Oklahoma City Thunder teammate Russell Westbrook he will be re-signing with the Thunder for $137M over four years.

Free agency featured movement of many key pieces outside of the superstars. Former all-star Dwight Howard accepted a buyout from the Brooklyn Nets and signed a one year deal with the Washington Wizards, a puzzling move by a team with well documented chemistry problems.

The Lakers were active outside of LeBron James, as well, signing guards Lance Stephenson, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and center Javale McGee. Stephenson has made his career out of being an irritant to James, doing things like blowing in his ear while guarding him.

Some key players that are still unsigned are centers Jahlil Okafor and Brook Lopez, and future hall of famer Vince Carter. Carter is 41 years old, and in a Verizon Up interview with Dan Katz of Pardon My Take, said this will be his last year.