Report: Lakers want to “integrate” DeMarcus Cousins “back into the team’s culture”

DeMarcus Cousins
May 30, 2019; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Golden State Warriors center DeMarcus Cousins (0) walks to the court before game one of the 2019 NBA Finals against the Toronto Raptors at Scotiabank Arena. Mandatory Credit: Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Lakers followed the disappointment of missing out on Kawhi Leonard with a flurry of (seemingly planned) signings that filled out the roster. The first, and most important of which was the signing of recent champion Danny Green, which the Lakers then followed with re-signings of Rajon Rondo and JaVale McGee. In the middle of all that was a high upside, low risk signing of DeMarcus Cousins.

Cousins was coming off a hot-and-cold season with the Golden State Warriors, as he had to make his recovery from an achilles tear in the 2017-18 season, shortly followed up by a quad tear that kept him out of most of the 2019 NBA Playoffs. He was immediately looked at as an x-factor for the Lakers going into the season, but sadly tore his ACL in a pickup game only about a month after his signing.

The Lakers immediately realized they needed a backup center and got one in the return of Dwight Howard. The team was also subsequently granted a disabled player exception for Cousins’ injury.

Throughout all of this following his ACL tear, there was troubling news of a police warrant out for Cousins’ arrest after he was allegedly recorded threatening the mother of his child over the child’s appearance at Cousins’ wedding. With that news following the season-ending injury, it seemed as though the Lakers-Cousins partnership was over before it began. Shams Charania and The Athletic, however, has recently reported that that might not be true, saying this:

The Lakers want to integrate center DeMarcus Cousins back into the team’s culture, and he is expected to be around the roster during the LeBron James-led minicamp in Las Vegas this week, league sources said.

It seems as though that although Cousins is currently in the middle of legal problems stemmed from alleged domestic violence, the Lakers will be keeping him around the team starting with the player-led minicamp this week.

It’s an interesting choice as the Lakers seemingly had a clear path to possibly sever ties with the big man following his injury and the warrant for his arrest. However, the team and the NBA both made statements that they were investigating the issue, and you would hope that the Lakers found enough to alleviate their concerns with him as they’re reportedly planning on keeping him around the roster. It’s still concerning though as this isn’t the first time the Lakers have willingly kept someone around their team following alleged domestic violence issues, as the team hired Jason Kidd as an assistant coach (his troubles with domestic violence were during his playing days).

It remains to be seen how much Cousins will be seen around the Lakers, and whether the NBA/Lakers/police find more in their investigations to make the team second guess having him around. The news today though is definitely noteworthy, nonetheless.

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