The Los Angeles Lakers may have just waived DeMarcus Cousins before he even got to play a game for them, but that might not be the end of the team’s relationship with the former All-NBA big man. According to a new report, the Lakers are apparently interested in bringing Cousins back this summer and signing him as a free agent if he’s available.
Citing a story from The Athletic’s Joe Vardon, Bleacher Report wrote that Cousins and the Lakers have mutually “expressed interest” in a reunion during this year’s free agency period, thus giving him another chance to help Los Angeles win a championship after injuries took him out before the start of the 2019-20 campaign. Originally, the 29-year-old center/forward signed a one-year contract with the team in the summer of 2019, but after tearing his ACL during an August workout, it was widely expected that he’d have to sit out the entire regular season.
Despite head coach Frank Vogel’s recent hints at a possible return in time for the playoffs, Cousins was waived by the Lakers over the weekend in order to accommodate free-agent forward Markieff Morris, who was acquired shortly after the Detroit Pistons bought out his contract.
Prior to the ACL tear that he sustained last summer, Cousins had also seen his last two seasons also shortened by injuries. While playing for the New Orleans Pelicans, the former University of Kentucky star suffered a season-ending Achilles tear in January 2018, one that would help limit him to just 30 games in the 2018-19 season, where he suited up for the Golden State Warriors. He also went down with a torn left quadriceps in April 2019 but was able to recover in time for that year’s NBA Finals, where the Warriors lost in six games to the Toronto Raptors.
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) February 22, 2020
Although he has impressive career averages of 21.2 points, 10.9 rebounds, and 3.2 assists in nine NBA seasons, per Basketball-Reference, Bleacher Report stressed that there are definite concerns about Cousins’ recent inability to stay healthy, as well as the fact he turns 30-years-old in August. The outlet predicted that he “won’t be as explosive as he was” during the peak of his professional career, where he appeared in four All-Star Games while playing for the Sacramento Kings and the Pelicans.
Despite the above concerns, it was also suggested that Cousins could instead focus on his other strengths, such as his ability to hit three-point shots at a high percentage for a big man. According to Bleacher Report, the former top-five draft pick — assuming he returns to the Lakers — could be a capable third offensive option alongside superstars LeBron James and Anthony Davis and might be good enough for a “regular” rotation spot if his outside shooting remains accurate.