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The Bird Calls Podcast Ep. 131: DeMarcus Cousins continues to be the focal point of the offseason

NBA: New Orleans Pelicans at Charlotte Hornets Sam Sharpe-USA TODAY Sports

DeMarcus Cousins’ injury remains the largest question mark heading into the New Orleans Pelicans’ offseason, but he let the world know that his rehab is not only on track, it could be ahead of schedule according to comments in an article published by Marc Spears of The Undefeated.

Just at the pace I’m improving, how well I’m improving. Some people may be aware, but they may not know about this injury. 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.

“It’s basically open field because I have so much time. But for me, I’m shooting to be ready for training camp.”

From tweets promoting the success of Dominique Wilkins following his injury to cryptic tweets comparing the positive and negative traits shared by flawed diamonds and pebbles, Cousins has been unable to keep himself out of the social media news stream over the past week.

However, following the shocking trade from Sacramento, it’s hard to blame DeMarcus for being impatient heading into free agency. He recently lost out on a lot of money from the Kings when he could have been signed to a Designated Players Exception. Instead of taking a chance on Boogie, Vlade Divac shipped him to New Orleans.

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.

The Pelicans have their own decisions to make this offseason. New Orleans will be pressed against the cap yet again, and should the franchise bring back Boogie at the maximum — in excess of $30 million per year, they will almost certainly face the tax. The Pelicans have just seven players under guaranteed contracts, but they alone total $92.3 million in salaries.

The next cap should settle around $100/101 million, meaning that the Pelicans have no wiggle room to sign any other big fish other than Cousins (Bird Rights). However, handing him the max would put them close to $4 million away from the luxury line and still needing to address Rajon Rondo, Ian Clark, Emeka Okafor, and Darius Miller, let alone filling out the rest of the roster.

General Manager Dell Demps earned plenty of accolades for his performance this past season, but his work will not get any easier.

In more positive news, Anthony Davis became the 14th player since 1982/83 to finish in the top three in both the MVP and Defensive Player of the Year voting, further cementing himself as one of the game’s top players.

Anthony’s much deserved recognition may lend the Pelicans a hand in recruiting this year, as the Pelicans will need all the help they can get with some limited flexibility.

Join Oleh Kosel and David Grubb as we discuss DeMarcus Cousins, Anthony Davis, the Pelicans’ offseason questions, the NBA Draft lottery and so much more!