"I hope so," Davis told the New York Times' Marc Stein. "That's a decision he has to make. I'm pretty confident that he'll stay. From what I hear, he plans on it. But I'm going to keep selling the dream here. I'll be very involved—I want him here."
Cousins, who's out for the remainder of the regular season with a ruptured Achilles, will be an unrestricted free agent at season's end.
Prior to hitting the shelf, he was in the midst of one of the most productive seasons for a big man in recent memory.
2 Years Ago Today, Cavs Came Back from Down 3-1
Draft Prospects Following in Families' NBA Footsteps
Giannis' Offseason from Posterizer to Taste Tester
Embiid Is Having Himself a Summer
New Dubs Celebrating 1st Title in Style
Why LeBron Needs to Leave Cleveland
'The Wheelchair Game' Was 10 Years Ago Today
Embiid Set Twitter on Fire Again
Four Years Ago, Lance Went Viral
Ayton Has Boogie-Like Potential 👀
15 Yrs Ago, LBJ Inked the Biggest Rookie Shoe Deal Ever
Chinese Fans Keep It 100 with LBJ Nicknames
Sixers Welcomed Meek Home in Style 👀
Mitchell Breaks MJ’s Rookie Playoff Record
Collin Sexton Could Be Next Eric Bledsoe
Andre Ingram Put on a Show in His NBA Debut
Turner's Showcase Giving Overlooked Ballers a Chance
Raptors Have Dominated Since 'God's Plan'
Jimmy Was Clowning While He Was Hurt
Simmons Averaging a Triple Double Over Win Streak
Over 48 appearances, Cousins averaged 25.2 points, 12.9 rebounds, 5.4 assists, 1.6 steals and 1.6 blocks per game. According to Basketball Reference, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (1975-76) is the only other player in league history to average at least 25 points, 12 boards, five dimes and 1.5 blocks over the course of an entire season.
He also proved effective in a partnership with Davis.
In 1,094 minutes together before Cousins' injury, the Pelicans logged an offensive rating of 108.4 and outscored opponents by 4.2 points per 100 possessions when their two All-Star bigs shared the floor, per NBA.com's lineup data.
As far as free agency is concerned, the big question is whether or not the Pelicans' front office will be comfortable committing a max salary slot to a 27-year-old center (Cousins turns 28 in August) coming off a severe injury that could limit his explosiveness.
If they are, and Cousins is truly committed to a Big Easy return, it stands to reason the two sides could hammer out terms in short order once free agency begins July 1.