Pelicans, Lakers call DeMarcus Cousins on Day 1 of free agency

Pelicans, Lakers call DeMarcus Cousins on Day 1 of free agency

New Orleans Pelicans center DeMarcus Cousins received phone calls from the Pelicans and the Los Angeles Lakers on the first day of NBA free agency on Sunday, a source told ESPN’s The Undefeated.

Cousins, a four-time All-Star, could meet with the Pelicans and Lakers on Sunday, but it is uncertain if such meetings would take place in person or over the phone. Cousins is currently in his hometown of Mobile, Alabama.

A first-time unrestricted free agent, Cousins might be a stronger target for the LeBron James-seeking Lakers after free-agent guard Paul George decided to re-sign with the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Cousins averaged 25.2 points, 12.9 rebounds, 5.4 assists and a 35.4 percent 3-point shooting average last season in 48 games with the Pelicans. The two-time all-NBA selection, however, suffered a season-ending Achilles tendon injury on Jan. 26 against the Houston Rockets. Cousins has been rehabilitating primarily in his offseason home of Las Vegas and has previously told The Undefeated that he could be ready by the start of 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 told The Undefeated that he is open to re-signing with the Pelicans but will make the best decision for himself.

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that Cousins could be re-signed by the Pelicans to a two-year deal. The Lakers, however, are a team that Cousins expressed interest in being traded to during his latter years with the Sacramento Kings.

A source close to Cousins said it might be time for him to play on a big-market stage after playing in Sacramento and New Orleans.

When previously asked about free agency, Cousins told The Undefeated: “I don’t plan on rushing through this process. I’m going to make the absolute best decision for DeMarcus Cousins. 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.”

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