Despite an Achilles injury that cut his 2017-18 campaign short, Pelicans big man DeMarcus Cousins will likely have a number of suitors when he hits the market as an unrestricted free agent this summer. That list will include his incumbent team, who he told ESPN's The Undefeated he's very open to re-upping with this summer.
"I'm going to make the absolute best decision for DeMarcus Cousins," Cousins said. "We'll see what that is. As of right now, I don't really know. I can't answer that. Would I like to go back to New Orleans? I'm very open to that. I love what we created. I love what was created after I went down. I would love to be part of it. But I'm going to do what's best for me, and I feel they'll do the same."
Cousins' injury was a blow to a New Orleans team that was finding its groove with he and Anthony Davis, but the Pelicans found a way to make it work without him. They surged down the stretch with Davis as the centerpiece and advanced to the second round of the playoffs before falling to reigning champion Golden State, leaving New Orleans with a difficult decision to either pay Cousins, a star coming off a brutal injury, or to let him walk and potentially miss on seeing the potential he and Davis could have in a playoff setting.
Cousins' injury has left his availability for the start of next season a question mark, but he told The Undefeated that he is optimistic he'll return in time for training camp.
"I'm looking forward to starting the season," Cousins said. "That's my own personal goal, so we'll see what happens. That's what I'm working on. The doctors haven't really given me an answer because of the time I injured myself and the amount of time that I have.
"It's basically open field because I have so much time. But for me, I'm shooting to be ready for training camp."
Cousins also says all the rest has done wonders for his recovery.
"Just getting this amount of time to rest my body, I've never had this much rest probably since I picked up a basketball." Cousins said. "I feel like it's been tremendous for my body. I feel great. I feel fresh. I feel brand-new. It's crazy to say."
For Cousins' looming summer decision, he just wants to go (or stay) where he thinks his team will be relevant. For New Orleans, bringing him back is a risky proposition given his recent injury. But the talent he possesses may leave the Pelicans with no choice but to run it back and invest in their dynamic big man.
"Somewhere I'd be appreciated and a contender," said Cousins of an ideal free agency destination. "A team that's ready to contend."
At least now we know it doesn't appear that his curious decision tothis week is any foreshadowing of what he may or may not decide to do this summer.