Gentry making sure DeMarcus Cousins is wanted by Pelicans
NBA.com Global on May 22, 2018 08:43 AM
ORLANDO, FL - DECEMBER 22: DeMarcus Cousins #0 of the New Orleans Pelicans dunks against the Orlando Magic on December 22, 2017 at Amway Center in Orlando, Florida Or. (Photo by Fernando Medina/NBAE via Getty Images)
NBA.com staff report
New Orleans Pelicans head coach Alvin Gentry is doing his part in making sure All-Star DeMarcus Cousins is welcomed to continue his stay in the Big Easy.
Last week, the center who is recovering from a torn Achilles' tendon he suffered in January, told ESPN's The Undefeated that he had not spoken to the team's front office "in a while".
But when the Pelicans head coach was reached for comment at a golf event in New Orleans about Cousins' remarks Gentry made his pitch according to NOLA.com.
"There's not anyone that does not want him back with our franchise. The bottom line is that obviously we'd like to have him back on our team. Anyone that thinks you're better having a guy that averaged (25 points) and 13 (rebounds) not on your team, is really kind of not in tune to what it takes to win in this league. There's just so many factors that enter into it, but there's not one single person, player, coach, or in the basketball (operations) department or ownership that doesn't want him back."
Despite losing Cousins, who is set to become an unrestricted free agent in July, the Pelicans clinched the sixth seed in the NBA playoffs and swept the Portland Trail Blazers in the opening round before losing to the defending champion Golden State Warriors in five games in the second round.
It will be difficult for the Pelicans to re-sign Cousins as the team's salary cap is in a challenging position as David Aldridge reports in his latest Morning Tip mailbag.
And, while New Orleans definitely wants Cousins back next season, the Pels are not just capped out, they were right at the tax threshold this season, and have $85 million already committed for 2018-19 in just five players—Jrue Holiday ($26 million), Anthony Davis ($25 million), Solomon Hill ($12.7 million), Nikola Mirotic ($12.5 million) and E’Twaun Moore ($8.8 million). Then they have to re-sign Rajon Rondo, which won’t break the bank but will almost certainly be well in excess of the $3.3 million bargain basement deal he had to take this past season.