In 1999, the world experienced the fear of Y2K, a paranoia that on the stroke of midnight on December 31st, when everyone stepped into the new millenia and the beginning of the year 2000, all computers would cease to function and the apocalypse would descend onto the Earth. It was believed the new year would bring with it a digital meltdown, complete with derailing trains and planes falling out of the sky.
In 2018, on the dawn of a new NBA calendar year, the league experienced Y2Cousins. At 8:35 p.m. on July 2 ESPN NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski announced that center DeMarcus Cousins had signed with the two-time reigning NBA champions Golden State Warriors. The collective sound of the perceived title hopes of 29 other franchises vanishing into thin air rivaled only the cries of agony heard from Herbert Morrison during the Hindenburg Disaster.
Cousins, 27, who tore his Achilles tendon on Jan. 26 was in Las Vegas for the beginning of free agency. In the early morning hours of July 1, Cousins said he had not received any offers from any other teams.
“I was shocked. I didn’t believe it. It was a rough, pretty emotional night,” Cousins told The Undefeated in a phone interview on July 2.
He then called Bob Myers, Warriors General Manager, to discuss the possibility of taking his talents to Oakland. When the conversation had ended Cousins’ had a new deal worth $5.3 million and the Warriors just added another star to their team, becoming the first team in NBA history to have three players who averaged 25 points the previous season on the roster. The Larry O’Brien trophy was tossed at the feet of Golden State and the rest of the NBA began plans for the 2019-2020 season.
Did the Warriors just enter into a new realm of greatness that we have not seen before? Or did they sign away their title hopes without looking at the major facts of the newest Splash Brother?
Fact: Cousins has a Temper on the Court
The Warriors has a whole struggled with keeping its players on the floor at times this past season, partially due to ejections. Kevin Durant was ejected five times this past season because of his arguments with officials. Cousins is known for his intense play and his spirited conversations with the men and women in stripes, which has gotten him into trouble in the past. Since entering the league in 2010, Cousins has been ejected 13 times, which is seven more times than the previous ejection leader on the Warriors roster, you guessed it, Draymond Green. Will Cousins be able to contain his emotions during pivotal games? Recent history says that he can, earning (only) three ejections in the past two seasons. His overall history says that when the going gets tough, he is unable to keep his emotions in check.
Fact: He is still be rehabbing his torn Achilles
While Cousins says he will be ready for training camp in the wake of his previously mentioned Achilles injury, according the Sam Amick of USA Today that timetable is generous. Amick says it is more likely he doesn’t see in-game action until after the new year. While there is no doubting how impressive Cousins is when healthy, averaging 25 points, 12 rebounds and 5 assists last season, the player the Warriors are getting may well be a shell of his former self.
Fact: Other teams didn’t want Cousins
According to Wojnarowski, there were teams with the cap space to sign Cousins to a bigger contract that didn’t want him because of his image. While he may have made steps while in New Orleans to change his attitude and image, some teams did not want Cousins in their locker room. The Warriors already have one powderkeg on their roster, Draymond Green. Cousins could be the spark that ignites the fall of the Warrior Empire.
While the rest of the NBA has given up and LeBron has begun hitting his head against a wall in the wake of Cousins’ decision, this move is far from a title guarantee for Golden State. When the clock strikes midnight on July 1, 2019 will we view the signing as what cemented a legendary title run? Or as the catalyst for the beginning of the end of the Warriors’ hold on the rest of the NBA?