The Los Angeles Lakers were finally able to make an addition in the buyout market by signing Markieff Morris, who was waived by the Detroit Pistons.
Cousins hadn’t played at all during the 2019-20 NBA season after suffering a torn ACL but had been a vital part of the team’s chemistry and overall camaraderie. He has great relationships with the likes of LeBron James, Anthony Davis, and Rajon Rondo and his input and presence around the team were valued greatly.
Despite being released, Cousins won’t be completely away from the team. According to Mike Trudell of Lakers, head coach Frank Vogel says that Cousins is part of the family and will continue to work out and rehab with the team:
Frank Vogel said DeMarcus Cousins, waived in light of Morris being signed, has become “part of the family,” and he’ll still be a presence as he’ll continue to work out/rehabilitate with the team. Vogel added that Cousins won’t travel or be on the bench during games.
— Mike Trudell (@LakersReporter) February 25, 2020
As Vogel said, Cousins won’t travel with the team or be on the bench even during home games, but that isn’t a team decision. According to Joe Vardon of The Athletic, league rules dictate that Cousins isn’t allowed to do that, but noted the possibility that he could be re-signed in 2020 NBA free agency:
Well, Cousins won’t be able to do that anymore. Per league rules, he can continue his rehab with the Lakers, at their practice facility, but he can’t fly on the team plane or sit on the bench once he’s waived. But the Lakers could re-sign him this summer, something both sides have expressed interest in pursuing, sources said.
A reuniting of the two sides this summer would make a lot of sense for both sides. Cousins clearly fits in with them and staying with the Lakers would give him the chance to play for a championship. He would also be completely recovered from his torn ACL by the time next season rolls around.
It is unfortunate that Cousins wasn’t able to contribute on the court, but the Lakers had to take the opportunity to improve themselves and their championship chances this season. Regardless, the two sides seem to be on the same page so Cousins in a Lakers jersey could still happen in the future.