Weeks after the 2020 February NBA trade deadline, the Los Angeles Lakers decided to waive DeMarcus Cousins to create a roster spot to add Markieff Morris on their roster. The Lakers’ decision to let Cousins go broke the hearts of some of their fans, especially those who were hoping that “Boogie” could rejoin them when the real battle begins in the 2020 NBA Playoffs. With Cousins needing more time to recover from his ACL injury, the Lakers think that it would be best for them to give his roster spot to a player who could immediately contribute for the team in the 2019-20 NBA season.
However, though he is no longer an official member of the Lakers, there is still a chance that Cousins could rejoin the Purple and Gold in the postseason. With the NBA suspended indefinitely due to the spread of the coronavirus, Trevor Lane of Lakers Nation believes that players who are currently on the sideline due to injury like Cousins would have more time to recover. If things go well with his rehabilitation, Lane thinks that Cousins could return to the Lakers before the start of the 2020 NBA playoffs.
“There had been some hope that Cousins may have been ready to join the Lakers on the floor for the Western Conference Finals or perhaps the NBA Finals, but that simply wasn’t enough time to integrate him into the lineup while ensuring his recovery was complete. However, perhaps that dynamic would change if — instead of a return near the end of the 2020 NBA playoffs — Cousins could jump back into the mix before they even started. As a free agent, it could serve him well to get a few games under his belt, particularly if he feels like he can compete at a level anywhere near his All-Star seasons.”
The Lakers may already have JaVale McGee and Dwight Howard sharing minutes at the center position, but it would still not be a surprise if they really decide to bring Cousins back once he’s finally healthy. Unlike McGee and Howard, Cousins is capable of efficiently knocking down shots from beyond the arc which would make it easier for LeBron James and Anthony Davis to penetrate the basket or kick the ball out when they are trapped by the opposing team’s defense.
With the time he spent on the Lakers’ bench, Cousins must have somewhat familiarized himself with Coach Frank Vogel’s system. Also, Cousins won’t have a hard time sharing the frontcourt with Davis since they already have experience playing together on the New Orleans Pelicans. As Lane noted, a return in the 2019-20 NBA season would be beneficial for Cousins as it would enable him to rebuild his value before he hits the free-agency market once again in the summer of 2020.