Los Angeles Clippers: Analyzing signing DeMarcus Cousins

NEW ORLEANS, LA - NOVEMBER 11: DeMarcus Cousins
NEW ORLEANS, LA - NOVEMBER 11: DeMarcus Cousins /

DeMarcus Cousins will be a free agent this summer. Should the Los Angeles Clippers take a look at the elite big man?

For the last few seasons, DeMarcus Cousins has been considered the best center in the NBA. Before a season ending Achilles injury earlier this year, Cousins was putting up 25.2 points, 12.9 rebounds, and 5.4 assists. His ability to score from everywhere, find the open man, and be one of the top rebounders in the league has been incredibly valuable for the Pelicans, helping them land their second playoff appearance in the Anthony Davis era. The Pelicans would be out of their minds to not make resigning Cousins a priority. However, what if Cousins wants out of the Big Easy? Zach Lowe of ESPN speculated on if the Pels will be able to or should re-sign him. His question is valid. After sweeping the three seed Trailblazers, the Pelicans are looking better than ever, even though their second best player is sidelined. If the Pelicans don’t re-sign Cousins, should the Clippers consider signing him in free agency?

The Case

This summer, the Clippers could potentially lose All-Star center DeAndre Jordan in free agency. While us Clipper fans love him, Boban Marjanovic is no starting center. Los Angeles has some options. First, they could resign Jordan to a monstrous contract. If they want to stray away from DJ, they could pick up some random average center, like Dewayne Dedmon or Brandan Wright. Lastly, they could go the superstar route and land themselves a new top 10 player in Cousins. Is this a good move for the Clippers? If I’m the Clippers front office, I’m not pursuing Boogie due to a couple of downsides that come with him.

First, the Achilles injury. Achilles injuries have shown that they can completely derail careers. Kobe Bryant suffered the same injury in 2013. That is considered to be what ended the Black Mamba’s reign as one of the top players in the league. Elgin Baylor also suffered an Achilles injury in the 1970-1971. Kobe still contributed after his injury. Baylor wasn’t so lucky. Upon Baylor’s return, his points per game were cut in half. Baylor and Kobe both retired shortly afterwards.

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Former Clipper, Elton Brand also had an Achilles injury. While he floated around the league for a while after his injury, much like the other players here, he was never the same.

Patrick Ewing had the same injury too. After his injury, his production was significantly decreased and he retired shortly after. History isn’t in Cousins favor here. Cousins may not be the same player, which is scary to think about. The last thing the Clippers need right now is an injured superstar who sits on the sideline making max money.

Second, his personality. While in Sacramento especially, Cousins was know league wide as being a whiner. Cousins argued calls against him and is good at getting flagrant fouls. The Clippers recently exited an era in which they were considered poor sports and crybabies. I doubt fans care for that label to return.

Third, will he even improve the team? From when Cousins was drafted in 2010 to when he was traded in 2017, the Kings sucked. The blame lays mainly on Kings GM Vlade Divak and owner Vivek Ranadive as they failed to surround Cousins with pieces to help him. The Clippers would have better pieces than the Kings did, so they might have more success. Our front-court defense might be a problem, as Cousins isn’t the best rim protector.

Realistically though, what will a DeMarcus Cousins-Tobias Harris-Lou Williams core accomplish? I’d guess 5-7 seed. Do we want to aim for mediocrity or work toward building the team for future championship contention?

I’m leaning towards the latter.