The Golden State Warriors, winners of three of the last four NBA Championships, signed the league's best center Monday, adding a fifth All-Star to a starting line-up that already includes four others.
Making this absurd signing even more mind-boggling is the price tag attached to the 27-year-old Cousins: He'll be paid a paltry $5.3 million for his one-year deal. Cousins was available at such a cut rate because he tore his achilles earlier this year. The recovery from that injury will be grueling and teams were apparently wary of cutting him the max deal he would have easily gotten were he healthy.
So Cousins' plan is clearly to spend a season getting healthy, win a title next summer and then sign a mega deal in free agency. The Warriors were obviously happy to welcome him into the fold, despite the question marks that come with his injury. Given how loaded the team is, they won't need Cousins until playoff time. That gives him plenty of time to get healthy.
Then, if he returns for the playoffs, Cousins gets a chance to showcase himself for that contract he's gunning for. The Warriors, meanwhile, get a stud center at a position that's been their weakest in recent years.
The reaction to Cousins' signing by NBA fans was typically apocalyptic. The Warriors are ruining the NBA, the complaint goes, by making the champion a foregone conclusion. Usually things that get fans heated up like this don't affect players in the same way. But that wasn't the case with this news. A bunch of NBA players reacted with the same exasperation as fans.
There was one group of players that reacted positively to Cousins move though: His new teammates in Oakland.