After failing to win an NBA championship title and rebuild his value with the Golden State Warriors, All-Star center DeMarcus Cousins decided to sign a one-year, veteran minimum deal with the Los Angeles Lakers in the 2019 NBA free agency. Unfortunately, even before he played an official game as a member of the Purple and Gold, Cousins suffered another grave injury that put him in the sideline for a long period of time. After the 2020 February trade deadline, the Lakers waived Cousins to clear a roster spot to sign Markieff Morris.
However, though he’s no longer officially a Laker, there is a growing belief around the league that Cousins could rejoin the Purple and Gold in the 2020 playoffs. According to Dave McMenamin of ESPN, the Lakers may consider bringing Cousins back to the fold if the NBA pushes through with the idea of expanding the playoff rosters.
“There is speculation the league may allow expanded playoff rosters in the bubble — perhaps carrying 17-20 players — in order to have more reserves available should a rash of COVID-19 cases hit. With the extra time off to rehab, combined with potential expanded rosters, will Cousins make his return to L.A.? The former All-Star center would give the Lakers the stretch 5 they missed most of the season and, with crowd noise a nonfactor in Orlando’s empty arenas, he could certainly have an impact as a vocal bench presence.”
Cousins would undeniably be a welcome addition to the Lakers’ 2020 playoffs roster. Though the Lakers already have two very reliable veteran big men — JaVale McGee and Dwight Howard — manning the center position, it would still make sense for them to give Cousins the extra roster spot. Unlike McGee and Howard, Cousins is capable of knocking down shots from beyond the arc.
Having a floor-spacing big man like Cousins, who is a career 33.2 percent three-point shooter, would be beneficial for LeBron James and Anthony Davis as it would make it easier for them to penetrate the basket or kick the ball out when they are trapped by the opposing team’s defense. Even if he’s not 100 percent healthy, Cousins proved in his first playoff appearance with the Warriors last season that he could score, rebound, facilitate, and protect the rim. Also, if they have Cousins on their playoff roster, the Lakers would have insurance if either McGee or Howard suffers an injury.
Despite dumping him after the 2020 February NBA trade deadline, it wouldn’t be a surprise if Cousins agrees to return to the Lakers. Aside from giving him another opportunity to win his first NBA championship title, playing for a legitimate title contender like the Lakers could help Cousins land a decent contract when he becomes an unrestricted free agent once again this summer.