As the Los Angeles Lakers looked to fill out the roster around Anthony Davis and LeBron James, one of their more intriguing signings in 2019 NBA free agency was DeMarcus Cousins.
He was coming off another severe injury but remained determined to make good on a one-year deal.
Cousins was excited to play alongside James and reunite with Davis and Rajon Rondo, his former New Orleans Pelicans teammates. Cousins vowed to accept any role Lakers head coach Frank Vogel would have for him, even if it meant playing off the bench.
Unfortunately, how Cousins would integrate himself on the Lakers roster has yet to be seen as he suffered a torn ACL in his left knee. The recovery process for such an injury suggested Cousins would not take the court during the 2019-20 NBA season, however the Lakers have remained adamant it’s still possible.
The 29-year-old has recently begun to increase his on-court activity and during Friday’s shootaround, he was going through another workout.
DeMarcus Cousins working on his midrange game. pic.twitter.com/1uyUT20WOQ
— Matthew Moreno (@MMoreno1015) January 3, 2020
“As far as I know, he’s still on track and it’s still a possibility to return this year, but I can’t really go into more detail than that,” Vogel reiterated.
Meanwhile, Cousins’ progression has him nearing the start of some running. “He’s going to start working into a little bit of light warmup stuff,” Vogel added. “But that’s just like light jogging and those types of things. He still has a long way to go.”
At best, Cousins would figure to return during the Western Conference Finals or NBA Finals. That, of course, would require the Lakers to advance that far. Los Angeles was awarded a $1.75 million disabled player exception in the wake of Cousins’ injury and surgery, which they have yet to utilize.
Although Cousins has yet to make a direct impact on the court, he’s been praised by Davis, Jared Dudley, and Vogel, among others, for his leadership and influence.