5. Los Angeles Clippers
The Los Angeles Clippers haven’t been subtle in their intended pursuit of some of the biggest names on the free agent market. Having been linked to Kawhi Leonard for close to a year now, L.A. is hoping to attract the reigning Finals MVP along with someone else to form the next great super-team.
In coming off a surprising appearance in the 2019 NBA Playoffs, the Clippers have done everything in their power to establish the organization as a hot-spot destination for free agents. As will come to be the case with a number of franchises with those same dreams, there is a scenario in which the Clippers come up empty this summer, left with over $50 million in salary while searching high and low for ways to spend it.
Bringing in Cousins wouldn’t even require a quarter of that available money, but it could be to the Clippers’ benefit having the cap space roll over into future seasons, thereby maintaining financial flexibility. Should they go that route, there are certainly worse options than a former All-NBA center who’s still just 28 years old.
Los Angeles may not be able to surround Boogie with a star-studded supporting cast similar to the one he had by his side in Golden State to help nurture him along. Maybe that would be for his own benefit.
Cousins wants to return to All-Star form as soon as possible in order to obtain maximum leverage in the negotiating room next summer. While there’s something to be said for a slow and cautious process, an argument could be made that the bigger workload he takes on, the quicker he shakes off all the accumulated rust.
This isn’t to suggest a role similar to that of James Harden, but the Clippers could have plenty of shots to go on a team without a traditional focal point offensively. With Ivica Zubac‘s restricted free agency and the proficiency Montrezl Harrell has shown coming off the bench, the starting center job appears clear for the taking.
The Clippers could wind up a very different team by the start of next season, which has the chance to damper this potential pairing even on a minimum contract. Assuming they run most of last year’s team back, everything would be in place — with the lifestyle of Los Angeles accommodating — to foster an epic comeback for DeMarcus Cousins.