March 20, 2018
NBA Rumors: DeMarcus Cousins Remains One Of Lakers' Top Free Agent Targets, Per 'Hoops Habit'

It is no secret that the Los Angeles Lakers are in pursuit of two NBA superstars in free agency this summer. LeBron James and Paul George are no doubt their leading two choices, but Hoops Habit reported that DeMarcus Cousins remain as a top target for the Hollywood franchise.

The report noted that if the Lakers fail to acquire either one or both James and George, then their next best move is to go after Cousins, who is set to become an unrestricted free agent this July. The New Orleans Pelicans star should actually "fall into the same category" with the former two players if not for the Achilles injury he suffered in January, the report said.

Cousins, 27, tore his left Achilles tendon in the closing moments of the Pelicans' 115-113 victory over the Houston Rockets on January 26. Five days later, he underwent season-ending surgery to repair the injury, which would reportedly sideline him for at least 10 months.

The four-time NBA All-Star was averaging 25.2 points, 12.9 rebounds, 5.4 assists, 1.6 blocks, and 1.6 steals in 36.2 minutes per game prior to the injury. His efforts could have made him and Anthony Davis the first duo in NBA history to both average more than 25 points and 10 boards in a single full season.

DeMarcus Cousins in a Pelicans vs Lakers game
Pelicans center DeMarcus Cousins (middle) is double-teamed by the Lakers' Julius Randle and Brandon Ingram.

Hoops Habit forecasted that while the demand for Cousins has declined, the Lakers will still be interested in signing the 6-foot-11, 270-pound big man. The report indicated that the situation may "actually help get a deal done" since Los Angeles is more likely to give Cousins a discounted offer than the max deal everyone is expecting him to receive.

The Lakers have long been interested in getting Cousins since he was a member of the Sacramento Kings. There were rumors before the 2015 NBA Draft that Los Angeles was trying to offer Julius Randle and that year's second overall pick (who eventually turned into D'Angelo Russell) to Sacramento in exchange for Cousins, but the deal fell through at the last minute.

This summer would be another chance for the Lakers to obtain Cousins, although there is a risk that the big man may not return to become the player he once was.