Earlier today, The Undefeated posted an insightful article with Marc Spears interviewing DeMarcus Cousins on a wide range of topics. Although the entire piece is worth a thorough read, there were several things that stood out which need highlighting.
First and foremost, Boogie’s rehabilitation seems to be going really well and gives hope that he’ll not only be ready for the start of next season but also be eerily similar to the player last witnessed on the court.
Usually you lose a lot of size in your leg and it takes a while to get that size basically where you have matching legs. For me, I didn’t lose any size in my leg, so that’s something that my doctors and the guys coaching me through this process have been raving about it. They are super excited about it.
I didn’t lose much strength. It’s a lot of positives. Like I said, everything’s been great and it’s in the right direction.
If you may recall, Elton Brand, who failed to return to his pre-injury All-Star form after he tore his Achilles, lost significant muscle mass in his injured leg — so it bodes well that Cousins isn’t headed down the same recovery path.
As for the New Orleans Pelicans being better suited without him, Cousins calls that talk “silly.” While he was proud of the team for rising up in his absence and finding another gear to finish the season strong, he indicates the Pelicans were at their peak right before his injury struck, as evidenced by the stretch of seven wins in eight games.
It was scary, and at that moment we thought that we could battle with any team in the NBA. It didn’t matter. It’s crazy because I remember [Rajon] Rondo saying, ‘Man, it’s clicking.’ And the way we were meshing together, everybody was flowing together. I can remember him talking about it saying we’re clicking, it’s looking so good out here and, you know, it happens.
For as fondly as Cousins speaks of teammates and recalls the team’s success, it’s interesting to read that he’s had no recent contact with the front office nor discussed his upcoming free agency plans yet with either Anthony Davis or Rajon Rondo.
We haven’t talked. My full focus has been on my rehab. Actually, A.D. hit me the other day, sending me some laughing emojis about the s— that is going on … but that’s the only time that we’ve spoken since the season was over. I hit them after the game, told them, ‘Great season’ and all that, but since then we haven’t really talked.
NBA players talk often amongst themselves, teammates and friends even more so; however, Cousins hasn’t broached the subject yet with two of the more prominent faces on the Pelicans roster?
Anyways, the article made it clear as day that Cousins is a huge fan of the city of New Orleans itself, calling it “super dope” and loving on all the southern hospitality. He stated the cheers he received during the home games in the playoff series against the Portland Trail Blazers “sent chills through my body, but that was a great moment for me, it made me feel special.”
Infinitely less unambiguous, though, was the whole unfollowing of the New Orleans Pelicans organization on Instagram earlier in the week that set social media ablaze. Cousins suggests that the situation was some big misunderstanding.
The reason I unfollowed them was, one, I was scrolling down my timeline and I saw a Pelicans fan page so I followed the fan page and the picture that popped up read, ‘Should the Pelicans re-sign or let Demarcus Cousins go?’ So I was like I’m just going to unfollow this s— so I won’t have to see it. In my mind, that’s all I’m thinking. So I unfollowed it and I started noticing people asking, ‘Why did you unfollow the Pelicans?’ I was like, ‘How do people know I unfollowed the Pelicans?’ I ain’t even know that was possible. I didn’t even know you could know if somebody unfollowed somebody. So you know my response, well, it was like a little kid: Well, ’cause I’m grown. I do what I want, I’m grown.
Heh, whatever you say big fella, but honestly, let’s just call it water under the bridge because there are much bigger fish to fry.
Obviously, the biggest question going forward is whether Cousins expects to remain in New Orleans, and judging by his answers in this interview, the outcome seems entirely up in the air at the moment.
Yeah, like I said I don’t plan on rushing through this process. I’m going to make the absolute best decision for DeMarcus Cousins. We’ll see what that is. As of right now, I don’t really know. I can’t answer that. Would I like to go back to New Orleans? I’m very open to that. I love what we created. I love what was created after I went down. I would love to be part of it. But I’m going to do what’s best for me, and I feel they’ll do the same.
The ambiguity shouldn’t come as a surprise. Cousins is attempting to come back from one of the scariest injuries a professional athlete can sustain, the Pelicans did enjoy a good deal of success without him, and most importantly, the salary cap is often a deciding factor in how rosters are shaped in the Association — and right now we should expect that Boogie’s group isn’t happy with the view of the landscape. Few teams have the requisite cap space to even sign Cousins to a contract worth millions below a maximum deal.
Good thing the NBA free agent moratorium doesn’t kick off until July 1; no resolution on DeMarcus Cousins for at least another 45 days!