Even with DeMarcus Cousins technically a free agent after the Los Angeles Lakers waived him last week, the expectation remains that he will finally get to suit up for the Purple and Gold and re-sign with the team at some point in the near future. However, his free-agent status also makes him a potential target for other teams, including the Miami Heat, as the latest rumors are suggesting.
In Tuesday’s edition of his column for the Miami Herald, Barry Jackson mentioned Cousins’ situation, given how he was cut by the Lakers to accommodate buyout market signee Markieff Morris, who last played for the Detroit Pistons. As suggested by Jackson, the Heat made an attempt to sign Cousins as a free agent last summer and at this point, still like him enough to consider adding him to the roster in the summer of 2020. However, he cautioned that there is “no indication” that the 29-year-old big man is “looking to leave Southern California.”
“Cousins, who hasn’t played this season because of a torn ACL in his left knee sustained last August, continued rehabbing with the Lakers at their facility on Tuesday, and there’s nothing to preclude the Lakers from signing him before the playoffs if he’s healthy,” Jackson noted.
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) February 22, 2020
As separately discussed by Bleacher Report, the best option for Cousins might be for him to “focus on getting back to 100 percent” instead of returning to the Lakers — or joining another team — for a playoff run. After reaching All-NBA status and playing in four All-Star Games with the Sacramento Kings and New Orleans Pelicans, Cousins has been sidelined by a succession of serious injuries over the past two years, including a torn Achilles tendon (January 2018), torn quad (April 2019), and torn ACL (August 2019).
Further explaining why Cousins signing with the Heat this summer doesn’t sound too likely, Bleacher Report added that the former University of Kentucky Wildcats star has established a good relationship with the Lakers’ two superstars, LeBron James and Anthony Davis. The outlet suggested that since he likely won’t be receiving much more than a veteran’s minimum contract in the 2020 offseason, Cousins should go back to the Lakers, play for a title, and return to the free-agent market in 2021 after rebuilding his value.
The Heat aren’t the only potential alternative for Cousins in the event he doesn’t re-sign with the Lakers. As documented by ClutchPoints, Los Angeles Clippers forward Patrick Patterson — also a former college standout for Kentucky — took to his Instagram stories last week to convince the big man to “come to the other side” and sign with the crosstown rivals despite his ACL injury.