When it was announced that center JaVale McGee agreed to sign with the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday, it created a need for the Golden State Warriors.
McGee, who played important minutes in the playoffs for Golden State, will now join LeBron James on his quest to win his fourth-career title. McGee proved to be a very effective interior offensive presence against James’ Cavs in this past Finals, thriving in pick-and-roll opportunities.
Although the Warriors are very comfortable playing small-ball, they’ve consistently started traditional centers in order to match up against their opposition. Since Damian Jones is the only big man signed through next season, it was expected that the team would look towards the free agent market for an answer.
And boy, did they get one of those.
After surprisingly expressing interest in DeAndre Jordan before he signed with the Dallas Mavericks, the Warriors used its taxpayer midlevel exception to reach a deal with perhaps the best center in the entire NBA.
No one could have expected this.
The shocking signing
DeMarcus Cousins, who averaged 25.2 points and 12.9 rebounds in 36.2 minutes over 48 games for the New Orleans Pelicans last season, agreed to a one-year, $5.3 million deal with the Warriors on Monday, per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
Cousins underwent surgery to repair his torn Achilles in late January and Wojnarowski reported that he’s hoping to return sometime during December or January. Therefore, he’d have roughly half the regular season with his new team before their presumed playoff run.
Wojnarowski noted that Cousins wasn’t receiving much interest on the free-agent market due to his injury and his desire to land a maximum, multi-year deal. When the New Orleans Pelicans signed Julius Randle to a two-year deal on Monday, it created the opportunity for Cousins to look elsewhere.
Once Cousins returns from his injury, he will make up arguably the best starting five in NBA history alongside Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Kevin Durant and Draymond Green. Curry welcomed him to the team and anointed him the third Splash Brother shortly after the signing was announced.
Much debate will occur regarding whether or not the signing benefits or hurts the NBA as a whole and there are two distinct points of view on the subject. On one hand, one team will legitimately be trotting out five elite All-Stars every night and will therefore have a distinct advantage.
On the other hand, they should be a ton of fun to watch.