The Celtics did not have much ammo to make a splash in free agency this summer, but that did not prevent them from attempting to make some noise on Monday. Ultimately, DeMarcus Cousins picked the Warriors over the Celtics upon electing to sign a one-year deal for the taxpayer mid-level exception ($5.3 million), according to a report from Chris Haynes of ESPN.com.
For now, we don’t know a ton about the nature of the Cousins pursuit from Boston’s perspective. Marc Spears of ESPN.com reported Monday night that it was Cousins who initiated an interest in signing a discount deal with the Warriors on Monday morning after failing to receive any offers at the start of free agency. The thinking here is that Cousins reached out to Boston on his own as well since it’s hard to envision the Celtics' front office believing they had any chance of signing the All-Star big man with only the mid-level exception at their disposal. Boston signing center Aron Baynes just one day earlier is perhaps another clue that this was an unexpected development for everyone involved.
Cousins is a guy with plenty of baggage and is recovering from a torn Achilles that will sideline him into the start of the 2018-19 season. The Celtics had opportunities to trade for him over the past couple seasons and passed on him each time. Still, there is enough talent there for any team to roll the dice on him for mid-level money, even though it’s unclear how close he will be to full strength in 2018-19 in the wake of such a serious injury.
While the prospect of winning a title in 2019 just got a bit tougher for the C’s, the fact that the green were on Cousins’ mind in this process is a promising development for the Celtics’ league standing in the big picture.