The Los Angeles Lakers were on a tear prior to the 2019-2020 NBA season being suspended in an effort to fight the coronavirus.
Now, that’s all been put on hold and no one is really sure when things will go back to normal. It’s certainly a difficult blow to absorb, but a necessary one in order to fight a larger battle. That said, there may be a silver lining: with the season suspended, players who are currently sidelined due to injury may find themselves with an opportunity to return before things come to a conclusion.
For example, DeMarcus Cousins, who was thought to likely be lost for the season when he tore his ACL. There had been some hope that Cousins may have been ready to join the Lakers on the floor for the Western Conference Finals or perhaps the NBA Finals, but that simply wasn’t enough time to integrate him into the lineup while ensuring his recovery was complete.
However, perhaps that dynamic would change if — instead of a return near the end of the 2020 NBA playoffs — Cousins could jump back into the mix before they even started. As a free agent, it could serve him well to get a few games under his belt, particularly if he feels like he can compete at a level anywhere near his All-Star seasons.
Even if Cousins wants to give it a go, the Lakers would have a difficult decision to make. With Dwight Howard and JaVale McGee performing well all season as a tandem, there isn’t an immediate need for Cousins. Also, complicating matters is the fact that Cousins is technically a free agent after the Lakers waived him in order to sign Markieff Morris, though they requested that he be allowed to continue rehabbing with them.
With the roster full, they would have to waive someone if Cousins does become a realistic opportunity. Given the team’s solidarity and chemistry, it’s possible that they would prefer to not disrupt that dynamic by cutting a player so close to the end of the season.
Still, Cousins could provide a new weapon for the Lakers with his ability to stretch the floor with his three-point shooting and his passing out of the high post is intriguing as well. It’s possible that he would simply be insurance against an injury to McGee or Howard, and could bee superfluous with Davis also picking up minutes at center.
Cousins’ immense talent, however, demands that the Lakers at least consider the possibility if he deems himself ready to play whenever the season resumes.