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Should the Pelicans break the bank for free agent DeMarcus Cousins this summer, or let him walk away?
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Steve Aschburner: Let him walk. The team didn’t sag as expected after Cousins went down. Anthony Davis enhanced his case for MVP consideration. And unless coach Alvin Gentry saw things that convinced him the updated Twin Towers approach isn’t just viable but dominant in the modern NBA, there are better ways for New Orleans to spend its money ... presumably. That’s the kicker here, that the Pelicans have to commit most or all of what they’d push toward Cousins to improving the roster in other ways. Just pocketing the dough isn’t acceptable.
Shaun Powell: How about "neither?" New Orleans has played well without him and yet ... I wouldn't break the bank for him and I wouldn't let him walk away. The market dictates everything and I'd play to the market for Cousins, which is in the Pelicans' favor. Few teams have the money under the cap (not counting the rebuilding teams like the Orlando Magic, who probably wouldn't want him) to break the bank for him, and of those teams, it's fair to say some wouldn't want him because of his injury and/or a perceived bad fit in today's system. If another team is willing to give him the four-year max, I shake his hand and let him walk. Something in the range of three years and $60 million sounds reasonable and safe for New Orleans.
John Schuhmann: It would be nice to somehow thread the needle and do neither, but if those are the only two options, letting him walk away is the better one. We don't know how well or how quickly Cousins will recover from his Achilles injury, and the Pelicans have obviously found a successful formula without him, playing faster, spacing the floor, and playing top-five defense around Anthony Davis (mostly playing center). Davis has taken his game to a new level in the last three months and maybe he can apply that to a reunion with Cousins, but it would be preferable find more complementary pieces and not let a new Cousins contract kill whatever flexibility the Pelicans have going forward.
Sekou Smith: There is no way you let Cousins walk away after giving up all of the assets the Pelicans did to get him. This dilemma requires a rather simple solution, as far as I can tell. The Pelicans should come up with an incentive-laden deal for Cousins that makes it clear if he's comes back as good as ever from his Achilles injury, he'll be able to earn every penny he would have gotten if he'd never suffered that injury. The Pelicans don't have to break any banks that they weren't going to anyway to keep Cousins in the fold with Anthony Davis and Jrue Holiday. I know the way the Pelicans have performed in Cousins' absence might have changed some opinions about his value and whether or not he's critical to the franchise's long-term future and success. But not here. I think they are perennial playoff outfit with him in the fold, provided of course, he's able to come back from that Achilles injury.