NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - The Pelicans' season ended in early May, but the topic of free agency isn't going anywhere anytime soon. In a recent interview with ESPN, DeMarcus Cousins opened up about his rehabilitation and free agency and said he believes he can make his return in time for training camp. As for which team's training camp he's attending, the Pelicans are still hoping it's theirs.
"I don't really talk about free agency, but the bottom line is we'd obviously like to have him back on our team," says head coach Alvin Gentry at the Saints Hall of Fame Golf Classic.
He echoed what Cousins said in his own interview. The Pelicans don't believe that they were a better team without him.
"Anyone that thinks you're better having a guy that averaged 26 (points) and 13 (rebounds) not on your team is really not in tune to what it takes to win in this league," said Gentry. "There are so many factors that enter into it, but there's not one person, player, coach or in the basketball ops department or ownership that doesn't want him back."
Cousins says his ideal destination will be somewhere that he's valued, but also with a team that's a championship contender. New Orleans, with Cousins, should check both of those boxes. But again, you have to consider both sides. The Pelicans' biggest priority, as a whole, is closing the gap between themselves and teams like Houston or Golden State.
"They've been there, and you forget a little bit about the experience part of it," says Gentry.
But now that the Pelicans and their core of Anthony Davis and Jrue Holiday have a little more of that valuable playoff experience, the expectations will be raised. So whether it's Cousins, Rondo, both of them or neither, the franchise needs to prove that they have a clear vision toward building a championship team.