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Steve Kerr admits there’s ‘almost no way’ to keep DeMarcus Cousins after playoffs

Warriors, Steve Kerr, DeMarcus Cousins

Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr has seen new acquisition DeMarcus Cousins progress through his rehabilitation process, grow, and adapt to a new system throughout the length of the 2018-19 regular season, yet his excitement for Cousins to make the first playoff start of his career is only rivaled by the nostalgia seeing him go after this season will cause.

“I just know that — and you can write this — this, to me, could not have worked out any better to this point,” said an optimistic Kerr, according to Anthony Slater of The Athletic. “He’s healthy. He’s confident. And he’s made us a better team. So everyone’s getting what they wanted.”

Kerr knows the one-year, $5.3 million deal Cousins took this summer for the mid-level exception was one he took to bet on his future, readying for a big paycheck this summer.

“In the end, there’s almost no way we can keep him because it’s going so well. He’s aware of that, we’re aware of that. There’s no time to think about it right now. But when all is said and done, we’re going to be sad to see him go and I think he’s going to be sad to go. Because this is a great situation for both sides.

“There’s just no money. When this summer comes, hopefully not until after the Finals, I’m going to be thrilled for him when another team comes in and offers a ton of money. Because he deserves it. He’s that good. He’s been great for us. I’m going to be happy for him, but sad to see him go.”

The most the Warriors could offer is a mere $6.4 million this summer, a 20% raise of his current salary — a figure unlikely to keep him in the Bay Area, barring some unusual circumstances.