Cousins picks Golden State
DeMarcus 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.
The low-risk, high-reward deal was confirmed by two people who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because nothing can yet be signed.
“5 All-Stars on 1 team.... wow,” Charlotte’s Frank Kaminsky wrote on Twitter.
Indeed, that is the case for the Warriors, who will be adding Cousins, a former New Orleans Pelican, to a lineup that includes All-Stars Kevin Durant, Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green, as well as a former NBA Finals MVP in Andre Iguodala.
The Warriors, predictably, were thrilled by a move that gives them a player who averaged 25.2 points last season before getting hurt and has averaged 21.5 points and 11 rebounds for his career.
“The 3rd splash Brother,” Curry tweeted.
The Warriors lost center JaVale McGee to LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday as part of the flurry of moves on Day 1 of free agency, and it took general manager Bob Myers less than a full day to replace McGee with Cousins.
The Lakers kept the moves going Monday, adding Rajon Rondo — once a playoff rival of James, and now someone who will be giving him the ball.
A person with knowledge of the negotiations confirmed to AP that Rondo had agreed to sign a one-year contract with the Lakers for $9 million. Like Cousins, Rondo was part of the New Orleans Pelicans last season. To help replace the Cousins void, the Pelicans agreed to a two-year deal worth about $18 million with former Lakers big man Julius Randle, who will now pair with his fellow Kentucky product Anthony Davis in the New Orleans frontcourt.
So in less than 24 hours, not only did the Lakers lure James out of Cleveland, but they added two players who were longtime antagonists in his annual quest to win the Eastern Conference, first by agreeing to a deal with Lance Stephenson on Sunday night and then moving Monday to convince Rondo to join what will be his sixth different NBA franchise.
Just more than $1 billion in new contracts were agreed upon starting late Saturday night and through the official first day of free agency Sunday — with James going to the Lakers, Durant staying in Golden State, Chris Paul staying in Houston and Paul George staying in Oklahoma City.