SACRAMENTO — The Warriors’ starting lineup resembles a Team USA roster.
DeMarcus Cousins agreed to join the Warriors on their taxpayer mid-level exception worth $5.3 million, as Yahoo Sports first reported. And the deal already reached Cousins’ future teammate, as Steph Curry tweeted, “The 3rd splash Brother. Let’s go boogiecousins.”
The Warriors had lost veteran center JaVale McGee to free agency after he accepted a one-year, veteran’s minimum deal with the Los Angeles Lakers. Though that departure partly stemmed from the Warriors wanting to carve out a larger role for second-year forward Jordan Bell and third-year center Damian Jones, it also gave the Warriors an opening to upgrade their center spot.
Cousins has averaged 25.2 points on 47 percent shooting, 12.9 rebounds and 5.4 assists, and has struck friendships with Curry, Klay Thompson, Kevin Durant and Draymond Green with the U.S. Olympic team. All of them sans Curry played for Team USA in the 2016 Rio Olympics, and Cousins teamed up with Curry and Thompson on Team USA in the 2014 FIBA World Championships in Spain. Though Cousins has elicited question marks about his health and temperament, the Warriors could absorb both of those issues for two reasons.
One, the Warriors’ team-oriented culture and experience in managing Green may help bring out the best in Cousins without diluting his intensity. Two, Cousins has rehabbed his left Achilles tendon since tearing it on Jan. 26 against Houston.
The Warriors had limited purchasing power to acquire free agents, which may explain why they missed out on Trevor Ariza (one-year, $15 million with Phoenix) and Tyreke Evans (one-year, $12 million with Indiana). But the Warriors plucked Cousins away from both the Los Angeles Lakers and New Orleans Pelicans because of their championship equity.