After a challenging past several months recovering from an ACL injury that has kept him out for the entirety of the 2019-20 NBA season, DeMarcus Cousins might soon be waived by the Los Angeles Lakers, as the team is expected to formally sign veteran forward Markieff Morris as their first buyout market acquisition.
On Friday night, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski was the first to report the rumor, saying on Twitter that league sources told him and colleague Ramona Shelburne that the Lakers are “waiving” Cousins. This was followed up by a subsequent tweet from another ESPN reporter, Bobby Marks, who shared more information on the specifics of the rumored move. As cited by Bleacher Report, Marks explained that Cousins might officially be waived on Sunday night — once Morris clears waivers — and would be eligible to sign a contract worth up to $4.2 million as a free agent.
In addition, Marks noted that the Lakers will still have their $1.75 million disabled player exception even if they end up waiving Cousins as rumored. He pointed out that this is likely because the 29-year-old big man is expected to miss the entire 2019-20 NBA season.
Despite missing huge chunks of the two seasons that preceded his one-year contract with the Lakers, Cousins remained productive in the 30 regular-season games he played last year for the Golden State Warriors, averaging 16.3 points, 8.2 rebounds, 3.6 assists, 1.3 steals, and 1.5 blocks in just 25.7 minutes per contest.
— NBA TV (@NBATV) February 21, 2020
As explained by Bleacher Report, the reports on Cousins came shortly after it was reported by The Athletic‘s Shams Charania that Morris and the Pistons came to terms on a contract buyout. The 6-foot 8-inch Morris, per Basketball-Reference, averaged 11 points, 3.9 rebounds, and 1.6 assists, and shot 45 percent from the field and 39.7 percent from three-point range in 44 games for the Pistons. He is reportedly “sold” on the possibility of joining the Lakers as a backup power forward. Such a move, according to Charania, would allow Kyle Kuzma to see more action at the small forward position.
Interestingly, Lakers head coach Frank Vogel appeared optimistic regarding Cousins’ recovery during the recently concluded All-Star weekend, as he told reporters that the former All-Star is “on track to get healthy by the playoffs.” However, Bleacher Report pointed out that there’s another possible reason why Cousins is seemingly “disposable” at this point in the season, aside from the likelihood of Morris moving to Los Angeles. The outlet wrote that Dwight Howard has played better than most observers expected, as he has proven to be a more than competent backup to starting center JaVale McGee in 53 games with the team.