New Orleans Pelicans free agent DeMarcus Cousins was having one of his best career years last season. Through 48 games, he averaged 25.2 points, 12.9 rebounds and 5.4 assists. Then, towards the end of January, Cousins tore his Achilles in the fourth quarter against the Houston Rockets.
Many know the type of damage a torn achilles can do to a player’s career. This same injury is what basically ended Kobe Bryant’s career. And much like speculation with Bryant, Cousins attributed overworking and fatigue to his injury.
The average recovery time for an injury of this magnitude is, at a minimum, six months. Bryant missed eight months before he was cleared to return to play. It was due to this that Cousins even reached out to Bryant to discuss the lengthy recovery process.
Now, as free agency looms, there’s been some questions as to how Cousins’s injury might affect a possible max contract. However, more pressing might be that Cousins could miss at least a significant portion of the upcoming season, per ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith:
“I was told that Boogie Cousins might not even be ready to play next season because of the injury that he had. So you’ve got a situation where he’s a free agent, he wants max dollars, but he may not even be able to play next year.”
With many quotes of this nature, we have to be cautious over how seriously it’s taken. But if Smith is correct and Cousins may miss all of next year, he may find it tough to sign a long-term contract this summer.
There have been many teams linked to Cousins, namely the Pelicans, Dallas Mavericks and Washington Wizards. The Los Angeles Lakers reportedly had early interest in the dominant center, but in the wake of his injury and the team’s focus on LeBron James, Paul George and Kawhi Leonard, Cousins is now considered a fall-back option.
It’s plausible a team that signs Cousins could wind up getting tremendous value. When healthy, he’s easily one of the league’s most talented players.
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