Do Anthony Davis and the Pelicans still need DeMarcus Cousins?

In the weeks after DeMarcus Cousins’ Achilles tendon tear on Jan. 26, there was a consensus around the league that the New Orleans Pelicans would offer Cousins a full five-year, maximum contract despite the injury — or at least outbid (by a lot) what looked to be a limited pool of suitors for him. A small-market team desperate to win, with no cap space to replace Cousins, simply could not lose an undeniable talent for (almost) nothing.

As uncomfortable as it is to say, New Orleans’ raging success in these playoffs has to change that calculus. The Pelicans look better, faster, stingier, more versatile with Davis at center, Jrue Holiday in an elevated role, and Nikola Mirotic spacing the floor for Davis’ borderline pornographic rim runs. A long-term, near-max deal for Cousins is simply too risky given the Pelicans know this current roster — when healthy, an important caveat — can win at this level.