Vogel: Lakers “haven’t closed door” on DeMarcus Cousins return

DeMarcus Cousins
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS – AUGUST 03: DeMarcus Cousins walks across the court during week seven of the BIG3 three on three basketball league at Allstate Arena on August 03, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Stacy Revere/BIG3 via Getty Images)

The Los Angeles Lakers have entered a bit of a groove since losing to the Clippers opening night, winning their next two games in blowout fashion. However, detractors and pessimists still concerns about their depth beyond LeBron James and Anthony Davis.

The team will likely continue scouring the trade and buyout markets all year. But according to head coach Frank Vogel, reinforcements could come from an even more unlikely source: DeMarcus Cousins.

Cousins, of course, tore his ACL during an off-season workout in August. An ambitious recovery time of about eight months would allow him to return to the Lakers in time for the playoffs. But the center has also recently suffered a torn Achilles and ruptured quad, making that speedy recovery all the more unlikely.

The significance of Vogel’s comments is moreso in Cousins’ position on the roster. If the Lakers sign a player (like Andre Iguodala, for example) off the buyout market, they would have to waive a player to create an open roster spot first. Cousins would be the common sense pick but the team’s insistence on keeping him involved and their reluctance to waive him after an off-season incident involving threats he made to his ex-girlfriend seem to indicate that they strongly want to keep him on the roster, in part due to the potential that he returns for the postseason.

That said, the Lakers are getting great play from Dwight Howard who they signed after Cousins’ injury. While he’s struggled to start the season, JaVale McGee is also expected to be a positive contributor. Even if Cousins is cleared when the playoffs start, it will be incredibly hard to slot him into the rotation over the two centers who will have played all the minutes to that point.

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