After reaching an agreement to trade for Anthony Davis, the Los Angeles Lakers continued to pursue signing Kawhi Leonard in free agency with the hope of forming arguably the most-talented big three ever assembled.
When Leonard signed with the L.A. Clippers, the Lakers pivoted to filling out their roster with complimentary pieces around Davis and LeBron James. Among their signings was DeMarcus Cousins, who was eager to reunite with Davis and Rajon Rondo.
“Obviously, I had two guys that I played with previously in my ear a lot; Rajon and A.D,” Cousins said in his first interview.
“They really put the pressure on me to make a decision to come here and team up again. Me and [Davis] talked about it numerous times, being teammates again. We never wanted it to end but everything kind of happens for a reason.”
As Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka would later explain, another factor behind the team adding Cousins to the fold was with an eye on avoiding having to rely on Davis at the center position. But how Cousins would mesh on the Lakers roster may not be seen.
He suffered a torn ACL earlier this month and now is the subject of an alleged leaked audio recording in which he issued a threat to his ex-girlfriend. The Lakers’ statement indicating they are investigating the matter, per Sam Amick of The Athletic:
“We are aware of the allegation involving DeMarcus Cousins and, of course, take this claim seriously. We are in the process of gathering information and will reserve further comment at this time.”
Cousins presumably could face disciplinary action, with a suspension not taking effect until he is able to return from his torn ACL. The latest update provided by Cousins’ agent, Jeff Schwartz, indicated a timeline was not yet in place.
It’s the third significant injury Cousins has suffered in the past 19 months as he previously overcame a ruptured Achilles’ tendon in January 2018, then tore a quad muscle during this year’s NBA Playoffs.
With Cousins presumably due to miss most of, if not the entire 2019-20 NBA season, the Lakers signed Dwight Howard this week. His one-year contract reportedly is non-guaranteed, thus allowing the team to release him at any time and with no cost before the league’s Jan. 7 roster deadline.