If one Golden State Warrior free agent passes on the New York Knicks, they might chase another, according to a report from Marc Stein of the New York Times.
The New York Knicks’ link to Kevin Durant started in the fall, with his impending free agency as a hot topic throughout the 2018-19 season. The situation potentially changed with his ruptured Achilles in the NBA Finals, and the Brooklyn Nets and Los Angeles Clippers are contenders in his free-agent race.
If Durant signs elsewhere, that inevitably turns the Knicks’ focus on other players. One of them could be the two-time NBA MVP’s teammate from Golden State.
Cousins, who will turn 29 years old before the 2019-20 season, rehabbed his way from his own torn Achilles to 30 games with the Warriors this past year, averaging 16.3 points, 8.2 rebounds, 3.6 assists, 1.3 steals and 1.5 blocks. While not at his All-Star levels with the Pelicans and Kings, signs of that play broke through, especially leaning into his lauded passing ability.
However, Cousins suffered a torn quadriceps just two games into the NBA playoffs. He returned for Golden State’s turn in the NBA Finals but struggled to impact the games.
With the Knicks, “Boogie” can take a year with a team not likely to contend to return to form, pad his stats and re-enter free agency in 2020. That can happen in a towering lineup with Mitchell Robinson, as the veteran big man is the better passer and stretches the floor as in a power forward-esque role. That is while the soon-to-be second-year man is the athletic rim protector.
As for salary, the Knicks have $70 million to spend. If they strike out on the aforementioned trio of players, they will have more than enough to entice Cousins, potentially between $15-20 million to lure him after making just $5.337 million with the Warriors.
Cousins is an alternative, though. The same for other backup options like Julius Randle and Terry Rozier. With the Clippers, Nets and even the Lakers as suitors for the biggest names, it is realistic for the Knicks to leave free agency without them. That could mean more than just one player receives a one-year, high-salary deal.
Striking out is not disastrous for the New York Knicks, but those expecting multiple superstars to arrive will be disappointed with the odds stacked against this franchise.