With Demarcus Cousins’s contract expiring at the end of this year, the New Orleans Pelicans have a major decision to make.
Cousins and Davis plan did not live up it’s goal
Cousins was traded to the Pelicans from the Kings in a blockbuster trade during the NBA All Star festivities in 2016. The mindset behind the trade for the Pelicans was to add another low post star next to Anthony Davis. In doing so, New Orleans would be the only team in the NBA that would have two perennial, low threat big men in the game. In a league that’s now gearing toward shooting more threes and stretching the floor, the Pelican’s hope was to pound the ball inside with little resistance. Fast forward a year later, and the Pelicans are still struggling in the western conference. As of Christmas Eve, they are 17-16 and holding on to the 8th spot in the western conference. They have improved a lot, but not much to be a real post season threat in the west.
Pelicans payroll does not point to the Pelicans keeping Cousins
Lets put on our GM caps. Earlier this year, I wrote about NBA team’s DollarPerWin ratio for the new season, that can be found here . The Pelicans placed 25th in the ranking, spending almost 3 million dollars per projected win this year. (In comparison, the Warriors ranked 2nd, spending less than 2 million per projected win). Currently, the team isn’t receiving value from Cousin’s contract or enough growth in competitiveness to warrant prolonging the Cousins experiment. Demarcus Cousin’s contract expires at the end of this year. Meaning the Pelicans will have to extend his contract and offer him more money or trade him and get assets in return. Cousins is one of only two players ranked in the top ten PPG that makes less then $20 million a year (the other being Kyrie Irving). This means, if the Pelicans decide to offer him an extension, New Orleans will have to increase his salary. The Pelicans are over the salary cap, so increasing their payroll to have the same mediocre team is unwise. This is not a knock against Demarcus Cousins, but the Pelicans already have a low post threat that’s arguably better.
Time to move on
I do acknowledge the front office of the Pelicans for taking chances with the trade last year. But the Pelicans should be fielding offers for Cousins at the trade deadline to improve the team. Cousins is a great player but the Pelicans are not in need of his services.