Just after the Miami Heat traded Hassan Whiteside, some have wondered if Miami should go after another mercurial center — DeMarcus Cousins.
I’m surprised DeMarcus Cousins hasn’t attracted more attention in free agency. He wasn’t fully healthy during the Finals but the quad should be fine & the Achilles even better by the fall. I like the idea of him joining Jimmy Butler in MIA. Would be a nasty, cantankerous duo— Michael Lee (@MrMichaelLee) July 3, 2019
Cousins signed a one-year, $5.3 million contract with the Golden State Warriors last year. He was supposed to prove he could play in a defined role and contribute to a championship team, leading him up to a big payday this offseason.
Of course, that didn’t happen. Cousins sustained a torn quad in the first round of the playoffs and didn’t return until the Finals, when he was inconsistent. And now, Cousins hasn’t gotten many suitors thus far in free agency. Earlier today, The Ringer published an article with the headline, “DeMarcus Cousins is a Man Without A Team.”
Should Pat Riley make a call?
Here’s the thing — the Heat need to get under the $138.9 million hard cap line before July 6, when deals (like the four-team trade that will bring Jimmy Butler to Miami) can be made official. And as of now, Miami’s payroll comes out around $150 million.
Miami could use the “stretch provision” to waive Ryan Anderson, who has $15.6 million guaranteed of his $21.3 million salary, reducing the cap hit to $5.2 million over each of the next three seasons. The downside to using the “stretch provision” for Anderson? It would reduce Miami’s cap space for the 2021 free agency period.
The Heat could also find a team willing to take on Goran Dragic, who has one year and $19 million left on his contract. Dragic was reportedly in trade discussions to go to the Dallas Mavericks to complete the Jimmy Butler sign-and-trade, but Dallas balked. Riley instead dealt Whiteside, but had to give up Miami’s 2023 first-round draft pick.
Should the Heat go after Cousins? Taking on Cousins may be a worthwhile gamble for Riley. Miami may be limited to signing players on minimum contracts after getting under the hard cap. And with the dearth of teams inquiring about him, “Boogie” may be willing to do that.
Cousins is a four-time All-Star and a two-time All-NBA Second Team player. Riley could pitch him on having a chance to team up with Jimmy Butler for a year and help turn Miami into a good playoff team. And then, he can get his money. Besides, if Boogie doesn’t perform, the Heat have Bam Adebayo, Meyers Leonard and Kelly Olynyk willing to take his minutes. For the minimum, it’s a good risk to take.
But first, Riley and General Manager Andy Elisburg have other matters to attend to.