NBA Rumors: LA Lakers Could Take ‘Minimum-Salary Swing’ On DeMarcus Cousins In 2020 Free Agency

DeMarcus Cousins #0 of the Golden State Warriors reacts against the Toronto Raptors in the second half during Game Six of the 2019 NBA Finals at ORACLE Arena on June 13, 2019 in Oakland, California.
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After successfully capturing the Larry O’Brien Trophy in the 2019-20 NBA season, the Los Angeles Lakers are set to become a more attractive destination for incoming free agents this offseason. Though they currently have limited space under the salary cap, they aren’t expected to have a hard time signing quality veteran free agents who are hoping to contend for the NBA championship title next year. As the 2020 free agency period draws closer, more players continue to be linked to the Purple and Gold, including veteran center DeMarcus Cousins.

In a recent article, Sam Quinn of CBS Sports included Cousins on the list of shooting big men that the Lakers could target. If “Boogie” is 100 percent recovered from his injury and ready to make an impact next year, Quinn believes that the Lakers could take a “veteran-minimum swing” on him when he officially becomes an unrestricted free agent this offseason.

“The other name you’re almost certain to hear: DeMarcus Cousins. He and Davis remain close, and most reviews within the team were positive. If he’s healthy enough to play, don’t be surprised if the Lakers take a minimum-salary swing on him. It may not be advisable. He was defensively limited even before the injuries started piling up, and former stars create sticky locker room situations. Benching them is hard even when the necessity is obvious. But the upside on a minimum deal would be enormous.”

LeBron James #23 and Anthony Davis #3 talk with DeMarcus Cousins #15 of the Los Angeles Lakers on the bench during a time out in the game against the Los Angeles Clippers at Staples Center on December 25, 2019 in Los Angeles, California.
  Jayne Kamin-Oncea / Getty Images

If they could convince him to again sign a veteran minimum deal this fall, Cousins would undeniably be a low-risk, high-reward acquisition for the Lakers. If he remains rusty and fails to make himself fit in Los Angeles, they could easily get rid of him like they did last season. However, if he manages to show a glimpse of his old self and builds good chemistry with their core, Cousins would undoubtedly boost the Lakers’ chances of defending their throne in the 2020-21 NBA season.

If healthy, Cousins could give the Lakers a third star who is a very reliable scoring option under the basket, a perimeter threat, an incredible rebounder, a facilitator, and a quality rim protector. Coach Frank Vogel could either use him as the primary backup for Anthony Davis or as his starting frontcourt partner next year.

Signing a veteran minimum contract with the Lakers would also be beneficial for Cousins. Aside from giving him a legitimate chance of contending for the NBA championship, it could also help him rebuild his value and land a decent contract when he hits the free agency market once again in the summer of 2021.