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Free agent Cousins: 'I know I belong in this league'

Ezra Shaw / Getty Images Sport / Getty

Free agent center DeMarcus Cousins wants another shot to play in the NBA.

In an interview with Yahoo Sports' Chris Haynes, the four-time All-Star shared his desire to be back with a team.

'It would mean everything in the world to me to be back in the NBA," Cousins said. "I know I belong in this league. I feel like I’ve paid my dues and earned my stripes ... I just want the opportunity to show the work I've put in and continue to put in."

Cousins split last season between the Milwaukee Bucks and Denver Nuggets, averaging 9.0 points, 5.6 rebounds, and 1.5 assists in 48 games before playing in all five of Denver's playoff games.

The former Sacramento Kings center spent seven individually productive seasons with the franchise, averaging 21.2 points, 10.8 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 1.4 steals, and 1.2 blocks. However, the Kings failed to make the playoffs during Cousins' tenure. Sacramento currently has the longest postseason drought in the major four sports, last qualifying in the 2005-2006 campaign.

"I realize I'm not the franchise player I was when I was younger. I've accepted that. I understand this business. I understand how this cycle goes. I'm not ignorant to it. So whatever role is given to me, I will do it willingly and to the best of my ability," Cousins said. "I'm going to do what's asked of me. If it's me starting, if it's me coming off the bench, or if it's me having to be at the end of the bench cheering the next guy on, I'll do it. Whatever it takes. I'm willing to do whatever is needed to win."

After the Kings moved him to the New Orleans Pelicans at the 2017 trade deadline, Cousins tore his Achilles during the 2017-2018 season. Since then, he has bounced the league as a role player, landing with the Golden State Warriors, Houston Rockets, and Los Angeles Clippers before the 2021-22 campaign.

Despite bouncing around since his Kings tenure, Cousins has stayed ready for his next chance at a roster spot.

"I’m just trying to control what I can control," Cousins said. "Whenever the opportunity does come about and my name is called upon, I'll be prepared."

Free agent Cousins: 'I know I belong in this league'
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