DeMarcus Cousins, New Orleans Pelicans

Age: 27

Free-Agent Status: Unrestricted

2017-18 Per-Game Stats: 25.2 points, 12.9 rebounds, 5.4 assists, 1.6 steals, 1.6 blocks, 47.0 percent shooting

Advanced Stats: 22.6 PER, 200.03 TPA, 3.71 RPM

DeMarcus Cousins’ next contract was always going to be a problem for the New Orleans Pelicans. authentic nfl jerseys They took a risk by acquiring him last season, a little less than 15 months out from free agency.

Would they play well enough to convince him to stay? Would a five-year contract represent enough of a difference to trounce four-season maxes from other suitors? Would Cousins’ departure open the door for an Anthony Davis trade demand?

New Orleans needn’t worry about carrying the burden of proof anymore. The tables have turned on the heels of Cousins’ season-ending Achilles injury. He is no longer a max-contract formality, and his post-recovery ceiling will invariably scare off a few suitors.

If the Pelicans want him, they’ll have him. They couldn’t say that before. Now they must decide whether they need him.

Cousins’ absence has forced the Pelicans to lean into the Davis-plus-four-shooters model—and it looks good on them. wholesale nfl jerseys Jrue Holiday has more freedom to leave his mark on offense, even when playing alongside Rajon Rondo. Nikola Mirotic can be lethal attacking off the dribble, most notably when capitalizing on switches in space, but doesn’t monopolize possessions. Cousins’ regular-season usage rate dwarfed his by more than 10 percentage points.

Sweeping the Blazers in the first round of the playoffs has only intensified the dilemma. Post-injury Cousins will be a better singular talent than Mirotic. That shouldn’t be a question. But Mirotic might be the superior fit—that zippy 4 who doesn’t need the ball on offense and frees Davis to ruin lives at the rim.nfl jerseys wholesale

The numbers bear this out. Look at how the Pelicans’ net rating when Mirotic plays with Davis compares to the flip side:

Davis-Mirotic (regular season): 10.7 (576 minutes)
Davis-Mirotic (postseason): 19.4 (119 minutes)
Davis-Cousins: 4.2 (1,094 minutes)

Choosing between Cousins and Mirotic feels wrong. One is an All-Star, the other is not. Mirotic can be brought off the bench and play some 3, nfl jerseys china so the Pelicans could try having their cake and eating it too—particularly when letting Cousins walk won’t, on its own, arm them with meaningful cap space.

Will they? Should they? Could the cost and length of Cousins’ next deal turn this into a non-issue? We don’t know. And odds are the Pelicans don’t, either.nfl wholesale jerseys