OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA (REUTERS) - Free agent centre DeMarcus Cousins has agreed to US$5.3 million (S$7.2 million), one-year contract with the Golden State Warriors, according to multiple reports on Monday (July 3).
Cousins' salary represents the taxpayer mid-level exception. The news comes less than 48 hours after reports said Cousins planned to meet with New Orleans Pelicans, his former team, and the Los Angeles Lakers, for whom the big man had been considered a likely target after they missed out on Paul George.
Cousins, who turns 28 in August, is recovering from a torn left Achilles tendon suffered in January. Prior to the injury, the Pelicans were expected to offer him a max-level, five-year contract this off season, but the severity of the issue was expected to depress his market significantly.
Now he will have the opportunity to repair his value on a one-year contract before hitting the market again next off season.
Before his injury, Cousins was averaging 25.2 points, 12.9 rebounds, 5.4 assists, 1.6 steals and 1.6 blocks per game through 48 games with the Pelicans, figures that have never been reached by one player in a single season in National Basketball Association (NBA) history.
It was his first full season in New Orleans after the Pelicans acquired him last February for a package including Buddy Hield, Tyreke Evans and a first-round pick.
Picked fifth overall in the 2010 draft, the eight-year veteran has career averages of 21.5 points, 11.0 rebounds. 3.2 assists, 1.4 steals and 1.2 blocks per game.
Former Warriors centre JaVale McGee left the team to sign with the Lakers for the veteran's minimum on Sunday, and Zaza Pachulia and David West remain free agents.
The Pelicans signed former Lakers big man Julius Randle to a two-year, US$18 million deal earlier on Monday.
Elsewhere, Boston Celtics forward Gordon Hayward has recently resumed running after his second ankle surgery, Boston president of operations Danny Ainge revealed.
Ainge said the latest procedure was to remove a plate and screws from Hayward's left ankle. He broke his ankle on Oct 17 in the first quarter of the season opener against the Cleveland Cavaliers prior to undergoing the first surgery.
Ainge added that Hayward and his family left Boston over the weekend to spend time at their home in San Diego.
"Before he left, he was running out on the basketball court," Ainge told the Boston Globe. "He was back to resuming basketball activities. It feels great."
His recovery was progressing until he felt soreness in the ankle. The complications led to the second surgery in late May.
Hayward discussed his recovery in a blog post last week. "Once I get started, I'll be jogging, then running, and then cutting and moving, and all that could happen within one to two weeks of each other, to where by the end of July I am playing full court, five-on-five basketball,"Hayward wrote.
"And that's probably the most exciting thing I could tell all of you."
Hayward signed a US$128 million, four-year contract with the Celtics as a free agent prior to the 2017-18 season.
Hayward spent his first seven NBA seasons with the Utah Jazz, averaging 15.7 points, 4.2 rebounds and 3.4 assists. He was an All-Star for the first time in his final season with Utah, when he established career highs of 21.9 points and 5.4 rebounds.