- DeMarcus Cousins is a free agent after being let go by the Houston Rockets
- The Brooklyn Nets are the favorites to sign the former All-Star center
- Which teams represent the best bet to sign Cousins? See odds on all potential teams below
DeMarcus Cousins is a free agent again. Cousins was waived by the Houston Rockets despite taking over as their starting center in the absence of Christian Wood. The Rockets are not a contender in NBA Championship odds, and apparently parted with Cousins amicably.
The Brooklyn Nets are the favorites to land Cousins. Where he ends up will tell us a lot about his ambitions this season – does he prioritize ring chasing or minutes?
DeMarcus Cousins Next Team Odds
|Los Angeles Lakers||+400|
|New York Knicks||+850|
|Golden State Warriors||+850|
|Portland Trail Blazers||+1200|
Odds as of Feb 26th
Minutes Available in Brooklyn
Bordering on title favorites status, the Nets could tick two boxes for DeMarcus Cousins. Brooklyn has embraced small ball, but Cousins could be another big body for them to put at the five. There’s a route to minutes if the Nets choose to put yet another shooter on the floor. It’s also a chance for Cousins to win a ring, something that others in the table above cannot offer.
There are a couple of questions here, though. The Nets are hardly in need of another offense-first player. Cousins does nothing to improve them defensively, and the success playing with Jeff Green or Bruce Brown at the five might limit their desire for another big. The other main issue surrounds James Harden’s departure from Houston.
Would you like to see DeMarcus Cousins sign for the Nets?
He called James Harden “disrespectful” following his exit from Houston, so maybe there’s an issue there?#NBA #BrooklynTogether pic.twitter.com/3lBnazUrXm
— UK Nets Fans ◼️◻️???????? (@UKNetsFans) February 21, 2021
Cousins was scathing about Harden’s behaviour. He said, “Obviously, it’s disrespectful, but everybody has a right to their opinion. We feel a certain type of way about some of his actions.”
Given the imperfect fit, and the unsettled relationship between Harden and Cousins, it’s a surprise to see the Nets as the favorites here.
Returning to the Bay
Cousins signed with the Warriors a couple of summers ago. As has been the case in recent seasons, injuries derailed his time with Golden State.
If he returns to The Bay this season, it will be in very different circumstances. Steph Curry and Draymond Green remain, but pretty much everything else has changed. Cousins wouldn’t be joining a super team for a ring. This would be a move for playing time over hardware.
The Warriors could do with some added front court depth. Cousins’ shooting would help space the floor.
On the other hand, the Warriors, like Brooklyn, have enjoyed some good games playing small. They have also just got Kevon Looney and James Wiseman back. This version of Cousins would provide depth for Steve Kerr at the five, but how would Cousins feel about being third-choice on a non-contender?
Meyers Leonard is out for the season. Precious Achiuwa is clearly talented, but he’s raw. Miami is getting healthy, and Kelly Olynyk is playing considerable minutes, but they will surely show interest in Cousins.
The former Sacramento King could function as Bam Adebayo’s backup at the five. He could share the floor with Adebayo on occasion too, providing shooting and another good passer in the frontcourt.
Miami don’t offer the same shot at a title as the Lakers or Heat. Cousins’ path to significant minutes is cleaner, though. Adebayo is one of the game’s best defenders, which might make it easier for Erik Spoelstra to cover for Cousins’ defensive failings.
Miami is mentioned whenever a big name is available. That’s no different here, and it perhaps makes more sense than other links.
Lots of teams will consider Cousins. He’s not the player he once was, but he’s still a useful option to have off the bench, and so many good teams are weak in the front court right now.
DeMarcus Cousins has cleared waivers and is free to sign with any NBA team, sources tell @TheAthletic @Stadium.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) February 25, 2021
With Jusuf Nurkic sidelined, the Blazers represent good value out at +1200. Given the defense deployed by Boston and Toronto, they seem unlikely landing spots despite their desire for frontcourt improvements.
Reports are mixed on the Lakers, who could pursue Hassan Whiteside. The relationship with Harden is unclear, making it difficult to envisage Cousins in Brooklyn. Miami and Portland look like the best betting options for now.