The news caught Jordan Bell by surprise the same way it did for everyone else. The Warriors acquired former New Orleans Pelicans center DeMarcus Cousins with their taxpayer mid-level exception ($5.3 million), providing the very piece the team needed to keep its championship train moving and the ammunition all 29 other teams needed to further fuel their resentment.
“I was very shocked,” Bell said following the Warriors’ summer-league win over the Sacramento Kings on Tuesday.
Before Bell could think of what that meant, he could not help but think of something else. “First thing I thought about was him and [Kevin Durant] getting into it,” Bell said, smiling. Cousins and Durant sure got into it.
In the Warriors’ 125-115 victory over New Orleans on Dec. 4, 2017, Durant and Cousins both received ejections with 1:14 left in the fourth quarter after jawing at each other. After they were tossed, Durant approached Cousins before Draymond Green and Andre Iguodala intervened. It did not stop there. Cousins tried to enter the Warriors’ locker room, prompting team security officials to stop him in the hallway. Therefore, Bell found it “definitely funny” that Durant and Green posted photos of that incident with good humor on their Instagram stories.
Green and Durant then connected each other on Facetime following the Warriors’ summer-league win over Miami on Monday.
After Durant chided Bell for missing a dunk after throwing the ball off the backboard, Bell brought up Durant’s previous scuffle with Cousins.
“Are ya’ll going to get along?” Bell recalled asking. “‘Yeah, that was just us competing on the floor,'” Durant answered. “‘You forget about it the next day.'”
The Warriors surely will tease Cousins about that incident. But it does not sound like they need to worry that Cousins now can enter the Warriors’ locker room. After all, Durant and Green were among the players that vouched for Cousins after averaging 25.2 points, 12.9 rebounds and 5.4 assists, while shooting 47 percent from the field and 35.4 percent from 3-point range. Even if Cousins faces uncertainty with his pending return from a left Achilles tendon injury, the Warriors believe they will benefit with having any version of him.
“He’s obviously great and a great All-Star,” Bell said. “I’m very excited for him to be on the team. He can help us out a lot being that scoring center. He is definitely a tough person to guard. Big body, can shoot and can do just about anything.”
Bell sounded just as giddy when a reporter informed him that the Warriors agreed to re-sign fourth-year forward Kevon Looney to a one-year deal on the veteran’s minimum. That sets up a Warriors frontcourt that will feature Cousins, Looney, Bell and third-year center Damian Jones. With Zaza Pachulia and David West unlikely to return and JaVale McGee accepting a one-year deal with the Los Angeles Lakers, the Warriors quickly upgraded at that spot.
“It’s going to be like last year. Kevon and Damian will have a bigger role this year, if we don’t get Zaza or David West back,” Bell said. “But I thought Kevon showed up great last year, especially in the playoffs guarding and did a great job of that. I’m happy to have him back.”