The Los Angeles Lakers waived DeMarcus Cousins on Sunday in order to create the roster spot used to sign Markieff Morris off the buyout market. Cousins had not played all year after suffering an ACL tear during the offseason and was already on a minute deal due to uncertainty in his comeback from Achilles and quad injuries.
The Lakers had felt strongly about Cousins, who is a former teammate of Anthony Davis, and wanted to pair the bruising center next to their superstar big man. Even while injured, Cousins seemed to have a big role on the team, routinely holding the stars accountable off the bench. His chemistry with the rest of the roster was undeniable.
The Lakers may have taken note of that as well as, according to The Athletic’s Sam Amick, they have “expressed interest” in re-signing the big man this summer. Cousins has reportedly reciprocated that interest.
If the team does sign Cousins, it will likely once again be on a veteran minimum contract as the injury risk weighs heavily on their minds. It may also lead to some difficult decisions in the frontcourt.
The Lakers have had two centers excel all year in their roles in JaVale McGee and Dwight Howard. Both are rim-running bigs offensively and protect the basket defensively while Boogie struggles defensively and is more of a post-up or 3-point hoisting big.
Howard is on an expiring minimum deal so depending on offers elsewhere and the Lakers’ preference, he could move on this summer. One would think, however, that the Lakers would prioritize the former defensive player of the year due to his revelatory season and his importance to the squad. Meanwhile, McGee has a player option worth 4.2 million dollars and will likely pick it up to remain on the roster.
Cousins is incredibly talented and if he can regain any amount of his pre-three consecutive injuries form, then he’s a worthwhile investment on the court. But at this point, that might be a tall task and it could be a major risk to tie up a roster spot for the Lakers.