The Knicks’ front office expressed interest in bringing in DeMarcus Cousins on a one-year deal, per a report, as the team preps to pitch to top free agents, too.
This is not the former Golden State Warrior coming off an Achilles injury Knicks fans had in mind.
According to Marc Stein of The New York Times, the New York Knicks are “weighing” the possibility of signing Golden State Warriors center DeMarcus Cousins to a one-year deal should they miss out on Kevin Durant.
The Knicks are weighing the prospect of extending a considerable one-year offer to Warriors free-agent big man DeMarcus Cousins if they miss out on top target Kevin Durant, league sources say— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) June 27, 2019
Cousins pre-injury would have been a welcome sight to New York. He was a force of nature at the 5, blending guard-like skills with sheer interior dominance. The Warriors took a flyer on that talent last season, and for a brief moment it looked like a steal.
Coming back from an Achilles injury is a hard road, and Cousins was not going to return to form just a year later. His will to play was there, but the skills have not fully returned. Cousins also suffered a torn quad Game 2 of the first round of the NBA playoffs and was unable to contribute much in the Finals, where he averaged a measly 8.3 points and 4.7 rebounds and shot 42.5% from the field.
On the plus side, neither the Knicks nor Cousins have championship aspirations in 2020 if the report of pursuing Boogie after whiffing on KD is accurate. This is a low risk, high reward possibility the front office is weighing. For Cousins, it could be a get-right season with considerably less pressure to return to peak performance for an in-the-midst-of-a dynasty franchise.
The news of interest in Boogie coincided with the Knicks declining to extend qualifying offers to Luke Kornet and Emmanuel Mudiay, making them unrestricted free agents. At the moment Mitchell Robinson is the only center on the roster. DeAndre Jordan could be a possibility, but the Nets are reportedly trying to add Jordan in hopes of luring Kevin Durant. That leaves a hole in the depth chart that must be filled.
A one-year deal fits right into the line of thinking SNY’s Ian Begley described last week: loading up on short-team deals rather than paying mid-tier free agents. Someone has to backup Robinson, and Cousins, a former All-Star and elite talent, is as good an option as any.
In the event Cousins miraculously returns to the Boogie we saw in Sacramento and New Orleans, he becomes an asset to move near the trade deadline. There are few downsides to the move, but it would confirm the Knicks missed out on Durant, Kyrie Irving, and Kawhi Leonard.