Earlier this year, it was thought by many that there was a solid chance DeMarcus Cousins would sign with the Los Angeles Lakers as a free agent. While Cousins, who continues to recover from an Achilles tendon injury, ultimately signed with the Golden State Warriors, he will be reentering the free agent market next summer due to his one-year contract with the team. With Cousins’ potential destinations in the 2019 offseason a hot topic as early as now, could the Lakers again be one of the top candidates to sign the All-Star center?
In a rundown of possible free agent destinations for Cousins in the summer of 2019, Bleacher Report looked at the chances several NBA teams have of signing the Warriors big man, while analyzing the pros, cons, and caveats that could be involved in such a deal. Talking about the Lakers’ prospects, the publication wrote that the team is not likely to have Cousins “as their Plan A, B, or C,” adding that they are still most likely to prioritize the likes of Jimmy Butler, Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard, and Klay Thompson during next year’s free agency season.
“Cousins may not even make the Lakers’ second-tier list if they whiff on their primaries. Eric Bledsoe, Khris Middleton, Kemba Walker and even Al Horford (player option) could all make their preferred list before him,” wrote Bleacher Report’s Dan Favale.
DeMarcus Cousins will have only one Golden year. Will his season in the Bay Area work out for him, or will he enter next year’s free agency with even more uncertainty to his game?https://t.co/qLF0cbSYxT— #RingerNBA (@ringernba) November 2, 2018
Given how the Los Angeles Lakers might have all those players ahead of DeMarcus Cousins in their free agency priority list, Favale predicted that the team could “easily pivot” to the 28-year-old center if they fail to acquire any of their targeted players. He added that the Lakers are likely concerned about having enough money to sign another top-tier free agent in 2020, but could also end up in a position where they need to build a championship-caliber lineup while LeBron James is still in his prime.
“Cousins is one of the few stars who might, possibly, potentially be open to signing a one-year deal. If his market is once again less than robust and the Lakers are faced with coming up empty-handed or touting a Bledsoe or Walker as their top acquisition, then a placeholder deal worth close to the max works out for both sides,” Favale continued.
Addressing the rumors that the Lakers might also be planning to trade for Cousins’ former teammate, New Orleans Pelicans forward/center Anthony Davis, before his contract expires in 2021, Favale cautioned readers that this is a “fairy tale” scenario for the meantime, and that the team needs to improve its center rotation sooner rather than later.
At the moment, the Los Angeles Lakers are just one of many teams that could have a chance at signing DeMarcus Cousins next summer. But even with Warriors head coach Steve Kerr recently acknowledging that Golden State might not be able to afford to re-sign the big man next summer, the chance of him sticking around for a few more years still remains. According to NBC Sports, Warriors general manager Bob Myers said in a recent interview that anything can happen before the 2019 free agency season kicks off and that he’ll be glad to re-sign Cousins “if he wants to come back” to the team.