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Washington Wizards point guard John Wall talked to his close pal, DeMarcus Cousins, this summer about joining forces but says the timing was just wrong this time around.
Cousins, who tore his left Achilles tendon in January, is not expected to be ready to play until December. The All-Star center turned down an extension from the New Orleans Pelicans before the season ended and didn’t receive any offers once free agency started.
So, Cousins decided to give the Golden State Warriors a call. Golden State was shocked when Cousins contacted them expressing interest in joining their already stacked roster. The Warriors’ recruitment of Cousins was led by forward Draymond Green, along with general manager Bob Myers and head coach Steve Kerr.
Cousins signed a one-year, $5.3 million deal with the Warriors.
Wall would have loved it if Cousins came to Washington, but says the Wizards needed a player who was going to be ready to play from day one.
“At the time I [thought] we needed a center who could play right [away],” Wall told The Sports Capitol about his free agency talks with Cousins. “Nine times out of 10 [Cousins] is not going to be ready at the beginning of the season. I think we need a guy who can be a starting center right now.”
After realizing it wouldn’t work out with Cousins, Wall began to recruit Dwight Howard to the Wizards. As he was negotiating his buyout from the Brooklyn Nets, Howard was not considering signing with Washington, as the team didn’t really cross his mind.
But when Wall messaged Howard on Instagram telling the former All-NBA center to come to Washington, Howard was all in.
“No lie, when I saw the message on Instagram, I really got so happy,” Howard told Wizards reporters at his introductory press conference. “I was like John just DM’d me, oh man this is crazy. After that, I really just started to put on my thinking cap. I just thought about all the possibilities. I was like man, this could be the best spot for me.”
Howard signed a two-year, $11 million deal with the Wizards. Washington traded Marcin Gortat to the Los Angeles Clippers and was in need of a starting center.
With the Charlotte Hornets in 2017-18, Howard averaged 16.6 points and 12.5 rebounds while shooting 55.5 percent from the field in 81 games. The eight-time All-Star thanked Wall for reaching out and believing in him.
“I think we’re going to have a beautiful season,” Howard said. “I just think we’re going to shock a lot of people. Shout out to John for reaching out to me and asking me to join this team. No disrespect to any of the point guards I played with in my career, John is a different type of animal.”