Report: Lakers interested in Joakim Noah as Cousins replacement

Joakim Noah
Feb 25, 2019; Memphis, TN, USA; Memphis Grizzlies center Joakim Noah (55) and Los Angeles Lakers guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (1) fights for the ball during the second half at FedExForum. Mandatory Credit: Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

Last week, the NBA world was shaken up by the news that DeMarcus Cousins had torn his ACL during a pickup game in Las Vegas. Cousins was signed by the Los Angeles Lakers in July and was expected to man the center position with JaVale McGee.

Now, with Anthony Davis unlikely to play heavy minutes at the five spot, the Lakers are on the lookout for a backup center for depth behind McGee. The team has reportedly reached out to former Laker Dwight Howard and received permission from the Memphis Grizzlies (who are expected to waive him) to speak to the center.

Howard, however, does not seem to be the only center the Lakers are reaching out to. According to ESPN’s Ohm Youngmisuk, they are expected to look into several options, including former All-Star center Joakim Noah.

Noah had little success with the New York Knicks after signing a huge four-year deal in 2016. But after being bought out last season, he latched on with the Grizzlies and actually performed well in 42 games, averaging 7.1 points and 5.7 rebounds per game and shooting 51 percent from the field.

Noah is not the shot blocker or rim runner that McGee or a healthy Howard are. But he does add an element of strong team defense and great passing out of the five-spot that most available centers on the market cannot provide. Given the thought that Cousins’ passing was going to be an important element of the Lakers’ offense, Noah makes sense as someone who can make the right pass as a big man and keep the offense flowing.

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