All-Star big man DeMarcus Cousins surprised many NBA observers this summer when he chose to sign with the two-time defending champion Golden State Warriors in free agency. A drastic move like that — one that allows the Warriors to add another superstar to their already star-stocked starting lineup — was sure to draw some criticism.
Yet for Cousins, he is adamant he doesn’t care what others think about his latest career choice. In the latest teaser for the Showtime documentary he’s working on about his return from injury and free agency choice, the former New Orleans Pelicans big man doesn’t mince words about his move to California.
“I knew how it would be perceived by some … I don’t give a [expletive],” Cousins said in a video released on Twitter yesterday.
“There’s some [expletives] out there that’s ripping their hair out, and I love it. It’s just another test for me to overcome. … I’m a fighter, I never give up and I’m taking this challenge head on.”
In the clip, Cousins explains why he signed with the Warriors and how playing for Golden State would give him the best chance to win as he recovers from his Achilles injury. He is set to have his introductory news conference with the Warriors on Thursday morning.
Cousins tore his Achilles in late January and underwent surgery. He has posted regular updates on social media with the hash tags “The Resurgence” and “0 Doubt.”
“This is my ace of spade, this was my nuclear bomb, my last resort,” Cousins said. “Yeah, I could have probably got a contract — a decent contract — from a bad team. But how does that help me?”
“I’m already fighting a career-ending injury,” Cousins added. “I’m not gonna put myself in an already-bad situation and try to prove my value or my worth as a player in a situation that’s not looking to win.”
Before his injury in February, Cousins expected to receive a five-year, $150 million contract extension from the Pelicans. However, that deal did not materialize and Cousins says in the Showtime video clip that he never received an offer from New Orleans once free agency opened.
“I understand. They had a big year,” Cousins said in a somewhat sarcastic tone. “They don’t want to ruin it taking a chance on me. I’m a damaged player. Cool.”
Additionally, Cousins said he and his long-time agent, Jarin Akana, reached out to other teams about an offer. But he said they got answers like “we don’t believe it’s a good fit, or, we gotta see what we’re doing with our roster right now … just kind of, just, [expletive] answers. And then there were some that were just flat out, like, ‘we can’t take that risk.’ ”
Cousins says he talked with Warriors stars Stephen Curry, Draymond Green and Kevin Durant, who all wanted him to come aboard and put him at ease with joining Golden State.
Shortly after he agreed to a deal with the Warriors, Cousins spoke at length with The Undefeated’s Marc J. Spears about his decision. He voiced similar things in that interview that he references in his Showtime clip — the lack of offers once free agency began, the notion of going to an elite team on a cheaper deal and more.
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the Warriors would be the first team since Boston in 1975-76 to play five All-Stars from the previous season at the same time come 2018-19. That group was Jo Jo White, Charlie Scott, Dave Cowens, Paul Silas and John Havlicek.
Yahoo Sports’ Shams Charania also reported that the Warriors didn’t quite believe he was truly interested in joining them as contact first began. But talks developed rapidly on July 2, with Charania crediting phone calls from Green (on vacation in Greece), coach Steve Kerr and general manager Bob Myers for sealing an improbable deal almost nobody saw coming.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.