Four-time All-Star center DeMarcus Cousins was officially introduced as a member of the defending champion Golden State Warriors Thursday.
The polarizing big was welcomed by the roughly 100 children who attended a Warriors basketball camp Thursday afternoon inside the Rakuten Performance center in downtown Oakland.
Cousins, as well as Warriors general manager Bob Meyers, addressed a wide variety of topics including the route that landed Cousins in Oakland as well as updates on his achilles injury that kept him out of last year’s post season.
Here are a few of the most significant questions Cousins answered.
What is the prognosis on Cousin’s injured achilles?
On January 26, Cousins completely ruptured his left achilles tendon in a Pelicans 115-113 win over the Houston Rockets. As a result of the injury, Cousins was forced to miss the remainder of the 2018 season, including New Orleans’ nine playoff games — a run that ended with a 4-1 series loss to the Warriors.
Now, nearly six months removed from a reconstructive surgery to repair the torn tendon, Cousins gave an update on his recovery:
“Rehab has been going great. I’m getting stronger and better every day. I’m progressing weekly, which is a positive. As far as a timetable, we’ll sit down and discuss with the team and figure out what’s the best return date.”
Even without a date to set in your calendar, the fact that Cousins is progressing at a relatively consistent pace bodes well for the Warriors who have stated that they are looking to have him back for the 2019 post season.
Cousins referred to this when asked how he is approaching the recovery process mentally:
“I’m in a unique situation where I’m not needed right away. Time is kind of on my side so I have a chance to get to 100 percent.”
He also conveyed the hardship that is rehabilitation and the struggles of coming back from such a devastating injury:
“It’s the worst. Honestly. Just waking up every day and doing the same exact thing. It can drive you crazy but I take it as a test. Just another obstacle to overcome and I use that as fuel to get to the next step. Its tough, no lie, but I know what I’m capable of and I look forward to getting back on the floor.”
Cousins also told SFBay that he has been able to work on a stationary jump shot and that his stroke will be “just fine.”
What led to Cousins becoming a Warrior?
Before making the phone call to the Warriors front office in hopes of finding a reasonable offer, Cousins said that he did not receive any offers from any team. Contrary to that statement, there were reports that he did in fact receive an offer from New Orleans in which he declined.
When asked if he did in fact receive said offer from the Pelicans, Cousins chose his words carefully when telling SFBay what transpired:
“I’m gonna put it like this: Only me and (Pelicans GM) Dell Demps know what was said on the phone that night. We both know the truth and I’ll leave it at that.”
Whether or not Cousins turned down a two-year, $40-million contract as reported may never be confirmed, but from what he said, Cousins and the Pelicans clearly did not part ways on friendly terms.
This isn’t the first example of a less-than-cordial exit from a team for Cousins, though. In 2017, he was traded from the Kings to New Orleans at the All-Star break after turmoil inside of the locker room was reported. Clearly, Cousins’ relationship with the Kings front office was on the fritz and from the sounds of things, it was a similar story in New Orleans.
According to Cousins, he received no offers from any teams this offseason despite his proactivity and willingness to reach out to teams himself:
“I reached out to some teams and we got some mixed answers. I’m not going to go into what team it was. It was more of the fit or scared of the injury in general. This ended up being my last resort and [the Warriors] were more than willing to make that happen.”
How will Cousins fit in inside of this locker room?
Much has been made of the fact that Cousins can be a hard personality to get along with for much of his career. As previously mentioned, his troubles in Sacramento were well documented as well as some whispers that the Boogie experiment wasn’t working so well in New Orleans.
According to Cousins, however, that shouldn’t be much of an issue in Golden State as he was welcomed with open arms by the organization:
“Every guy said, ‘Lets go get another championship.’ That was the first thing. What really put me at ease was the excitement. They’re a well established team and they could have easily been like ‘no, we don’t need him.’ They were excited like a team that’s never accomplished anything.”
What number will Cousins wear as a Warrior?
As a University of Kentucky Wildcat and a Sacramento King, Cousins wore the iconic number 15 on his jersey. When he was shipped to New Orleans, however, the big man made a transition to the number 0.
Apparently, that fact did not stop Cousins from landing the number 0 from McCaw as the Warriors introduced their newest player with that number on tv monitors around the facility as well as the jersey used for photo opportunities after the press conference.
Cousins was asked how exactly what it took to obtain the number 0 from McCaw, who has yet to re-sign as a Warrior:
“Let’s just say Pat [McCaw] is a tough negotiator.”