When they traded for DeMarcus Cousins at the All-Star break last season, the New Orleans Pelicans were hoping for a second-half push toward the playoffs.
With Cousins, a 21-point, 11-rebound career player teaming with Anthony Davis and his 22-point, 10-rebound career average, it was a twin bigs tandem that could present problems.
But they didn't make the playoffs, they went 11-14 down the stretch, and maybe that's what drove Cousins to lose "a lot of weight" and the team to sign Jrue Holiday to a longterm deal and add Rajon Rondo in free agency.
The win now mentality is partly because the team has made one playoff appearance since Chris Paul's last season in 2011, and partly because Cousins will be an unrestricted free agent after next season.
And, he's not saying what will happen after that.
“That’s not the focus,” Cousins told the Undefeated at Basketball without Borders in Africa this week. “The focus is on the here and now and that’s the upcoming season and how we are going to come out and perform. That’s our main focus. That’s for later on. We will deal with that later on.”
Cousins can get a max contract for five years, worth $180 million from the Pelicans if he re-signs. But he will be one of the top free agents in next year's class, especially if this new weight loss helps him move better defensively and score from the outside.
Now, just how much weight he lost, he said he doesn't know.
“I lost a lot of weight. I did my little training program in L.A. and I like the results," Cousins told the Undefeated about the weight loss. "I’m good. I feel lighter on my feet. I’m moving a lot better than I have in previous years. It doesn’t hurt to wake up in the morning and the aches and pains have kind of gone away. It’s definitely benefited my body a lot more.”