Coming into the next season, there will be plenty of players looking to prove themselves. Be that after a devastating injury that threatens their career like Gordon Hayward, or underperforming stars like Chris Paul that are looking to prove they are worth the gigantic money they’re on.
DeMarcus Cousins is a former superstar, looking to find his top form again. Once a top-ten player in the NBA, a devastating injury turned his career upside down and led him to accepting a reduced bit-part playing role with the Golden State Warriors.
In the NBA Finals, Cousins wasn’t too convincing, but he did show flashes of talent on certain occasions. After being so close to signing a huge deal, his injury has forced him to re-evaluate his entire career. The 28-year-old has to get into better shape, he has the tendency to look a little heavy and slow on his feet. This might be the consequence of his
ACL injury, but Cousins has struggled with his weight throughout his career.
During his time with the Sacramento Kings, Cousins had a reputation as a volatile presence in the locker room, but his time with Golden State seems to have matured him. It perhaps suits him not the be the first or even second biggest name on the roster and instead can focus more on himself than being wound up by the media or opposition fans.
Health really is the biggest issue when clubs are looking at him. A ruptured ACL is one of basketball’s worst injuries and he turns 29 years old in August, so he's likely to struggle to get the contract he wants. However, if he can adjust his game, relying less on athleticism, he can become a real force once again.
A smart move Cousins could make, would be to sign a two-year deal with a team, the second season being a player option. This allows Boogie to have a season of proving his fitness and displaying his ability is back. Then in the second, if he has suitors, opt out and get the big-money move he wants.
He isn’t the only Warrior coming into free agency with something to prove. Klay Thompson could bring his eight-year run with Golden State to an end if he leaves, but can he be the main offensive option on a title contender without Steph Curry? The spacing and service Steph and the Warriors provide him are perfect conditions for his catch and shoot game. Another franchise might not be able to offer this.
Also, there is the small matter of Kevin Durant gigantic decision to stick or twist with the Warriors, with recent reports suggesting staying with the Californian side is his last resort. This is a big off season for Steve Kerr’s men, and all this uncertainty has seen them drop down to fourth in the latest basketball odds for the NBA championship.
Cousins is in an intriguing predicament as he tries to get his career back to the heights he once achieved, while Thompson and Durant could also rock the NBA with their moves. The free agency period is set to be really exciting with so many big players potentially moving.