With slightly more than a month remaining before the 2018-19 NBA season starts, the Los Angeles Lakers are still seen by many as being weak in the middle, with JaVale McGee, Ivica Zubac, and possibly natural forward LeBron James splitting time at center. While DeMarcus Cousins was seen as the most talented center in this summer’s batch of free agents, he surprisingly signed with the defending champion Golden State Warriors on a short-term contract. According to Fansided blog Sir Charles in Charge, the Lakers’ failure to sign Cousins earlier in the summer might come back to haunt them at some point in the upcoming season.
As recalled by Sir Charles in Charge’s Michael Saenz in his list of NBA teams that “should have regrets” about the 2018 offseason, signing Cousins was the next best thing the Lakers could have done after missing out on Paul George, who was expected to sign with the hometown Lakers but instead ended up re-signing with the Oklahoma City Thunder for four years. Given how Cousins signed with the Warriors for only one year and $5.3 million, Saenz posited that the Lakers made a mistake by not taking a chance on the former New Orleans Pelicans big man.
“If he was going for cheap, and on a one-year deal, it really didn’t make much sense why the Los Angeles Lakers – or any other team for that matter – [did not] take a chance on an extremely talented player with little-to-no real risk.”
— GSW Dubnation (@gswdubnation_) September 5, 2018
Although the Los Angeles Lakers did indeed have a chance to sign DeMarcus Cousins as a free agent, the New York Times‘ Marc Stein tweeted in July that there were reasons why the team didn’t sign the 28-year-old center/forward. While the Lakers are reportedly still interested in Cousins, Stein said that the team took a pass on him, even with the chance to sign him for cheap, because of concerns with the Achilles tendon injury that ended his 2017-18 season with the Pelicans.
“The Lakers don’t share the Warriors’ luxury of waiting until January or February for Cousins’ return from injury,” Stein tweeted.
While it seems that DeMarcus Cousins will still be on the sidelines when the 2018-19 NBA season starts, Yahoo Sports wrote that the big man has made a “huge step” in his recovery, as he recently dunked off his surgically-repaired left foot in a new clip from Showtime Sports’ documentary The Resurgence. Cousins averaged 25.2 points, 12.9 rebounds, and 5.4 assists last season prior to his injury, but the Warriors are reportedly planning to ease him back into action slowly so he could be the “dominant presence down low” the team has traditionally lacked in the postseason.