Since the Los Angeles Lakers released DeMarcus Cousins midway through the 2019-20 season, rumors have swirled about him making a potential return. Those heated up during the final days of free agency, but Cousins ultimately wound up signing a non-guaranteed contract with the Houston Rockets.
Despite the Rockets guaranteeing his contract last week, it has been revealed they plan to part ways some time this week. With Cousins due to be waived, he has once again been tied to the Lakers, as they were one of the only teams with rumored interest in the injury-riddled big man.
Although a reunion between Cousins and L.A. would certainly make for a fun storyline, the team reportedly has no plans to sign him, according to Dan Woike and Brad Turner of the L.A. Times:
There are no immediate plans to fill Cook’s roster spot, and multiple people with knowledge of the situation said they don’t expect the Lakers to reunite with Houston center DeMarcus Cousins if he becomes available as expected.
On the Cousins side of things, the Lakers choosing someone else to fill an available roster spot makes complete sense. At this point in his career, Cousins brings a very similar skillset as Marc Gasol, but has an attached injury history.
A big man is undoubtedly one of the Lakers’ needs, but they’re better off finding someone who can do what Gasol can’t.
As for the other part of the equation — that the Lakers have no immediate plans for their additional roster spot once Quinn Cook is waived — this is also something that is the more sensible move. NBA rules dictate that the Lakers must fill one of the roster spots by March 9, two weeks before the buyout market will really begin to take shape.
The Lakers may sign someone for the rest of the season at that point, or they could circumvent this rule by simply signing a player to a 10-day contract and then re-evaluating for the buyout market. Either way, it appears there will be no reunion with Cousins.
P.J. Tucker among players of interest to Lakers
It’s far more likely that the Lakers utilize the buyout market for their final roster spots, but vice president of basketball operations Rob Pelinka can never be completely ruled out of making a trade. In fact, rumors have begun circulating that have tied L.A. to Rockets small-ball center P.J. Tucker.
Tucker would be an ideal fit on the Lakers, but it would require them to match salaries to the tune of $6.4 million at a minimum. Without giving up on any major role players, it would require at least three players –including Wesley Matthews — to get a trade done.
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