You just had to laugh.
When the news broke Monday night that former Kentucky center DeMarcus Cousins was signing with the world champion Golden State Warriors, the first reaction was disbelief, followed quickly by a chuckle.
"Boogie" teaming up with Kevin Durant, Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green? "Boogie" as the third Splash Brother, as Curry himself tweeted? Could this be possible?
First of all, once again, the NBA is dominating the summer news cycle. The league's wild free agency period has overshadowed MLB, the NFL, even the World Cup. All the talk is LeBron James going to the Lakers, Paul George sticking with the Thunder, the continuing Kawhi Leonard/Spurs saga. And now one of the game's best centers, maybe the best center, is joining forces with the league's best team.
Turns out, Cousins was one of several ex-Cats making the move to new addresses. Renounced by the Lakers, Julius Randle quickly signed with the Pelicans. Rajon Rondo, formerly a Pelican, agreed to join LeBron with the Lakers. Nerlens Noel jumped to the Thunder. They share something besides an alma mater. Each has something to prove.
Cast aside in the Lakers' post-LeBron signing spree, Randle will now team with another ex-Cat in center and future league MVP Anthony Davis alongside Nikola Mirotic as part of a front court for a New Orleans team that swept Portland in the first round of last year's playoffs.
The No. 7 overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft, Randle hasn't been a major disappointment, but he hasn't been a breakout star, either. He averaged a career-high 16.1 points per game last season, but started just 49 of 82 games. No doubt the Dallas native would love to prove L.A. wrong and help the Pelicans make a real postseason dent.
After being Davis' primary feeder last season, Rondo now will be expected to set up LeBron in LaLa Land. But was the former Kentucky point guard, on his fifth team in five seasons, brought in to be the starter, or to back up second-year pro Lonzo Ball?
It's doubtful the temperamental Rondo would enjoy sitting the Lakers' bench. And it will be interesting to see how he meshes with James, who is used to having the ball in his hands. When happy and motivated, however, Rondo elevates everyone else's game.
Noel has averaged double figures just once (11.1 points in 2015-16 with Philadelphia) in his NBA career and played just 30 games last year with Dallas, where he averaged a meager 4.4 points per game. Though he will come off the bench in OKC, he should fit the Thunder's new plan to push the tempo.
First, though, he has to keep maturing. The 24-year-old's work ethic was questioned in Dallas and he served a five-game suspension for violating the league's drug policy. Noel has some growing up to do.
We should probably include another ex-Cat, point guard Tyler Ulis, waived by Phoenix after starting 43 games last year. The 5-foot-9 Ulis should land somewhere, but his size can be a liability in a league that has relied so much on switching defenses of late.
As for Cousins, his move to the Warriors is not exactly what it seems. He's still rehabbing from an Achilles tear, which combined with Boogie's mood swings, caused most teams to look elsewhere. Even New Orleans, which acquired Cousins from Sacramento for Buddy Hield and the draft pick that became Zach Collins, let him walk after 65 games.
From Golden State's standpoint, the Warriors can afford to wait out Cousins' return, which is slated for late November/early December. His post-up game doesn't exactly fit the Warriors' constant move-the-ball philosophy. Still, in certain situations, Boogie should be an offensive asset when it comes to rebounding and points around the hoop.
As for chemistry issues, Golden State is taking the New England Patriots route — think Bill Belichick signing Randy Moss — banking that Cousins will conform to the Warriors' culture as he proves to the league the Achilles injury hasn't taken too much of a toll and he signs a bigger deal for 2019-20. And earns a ring.
Then he'll have the last laugh.