DeMarcus Cousins was considered to be a value signing in 2019 NBA free agency for the Los Angeles Lakers despite his recent injury history as he was a force offensively given his ability to score in the post and shoot along the perimeter.
However, Cousins suffered a torn ACL that forced the Lakers to sign Dwight Howard to bolster their frontcourt depth.
Howard has been a revelation in his second stint in Los Angeles, providing a massive boost with his defense and rebounding that mitigated Cousins’ absence.
There were recent murmurs that Cousins could possibly make an appearance in the 2020 NBA playoffs, but he was informed he would be waived, according to Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports:
Yahoo Sources: DeMarcus Cousins was informed yesterday by the Lakers that he would be waived. He plans to continue rehabbing ACL injury into the offseason.
— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) February 22, 2020
Despite the news, it appears Cousins will still have an opportunity to hang around the team facility, according to Marc Stein of New York Times:
NBA rules allow a player waived when injured to continue rehabbing with that team. DeMarcus Cousins is unlikely to be formally released by the Lakers until Sunday … and is expected to be granted access to keep using Laker facilities in his comeback from an ACL tear if needed
— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) February 22, 2020
The move comes as a bit of a surprise as Cousins had received nothing but rave reviews from the coaching staff and roster for his off-court demeanor and attitude during his rehab process. However, it is the most logical move for the front office to make as rushing him back too quickly could jeopardize his career and long-term health and the Lakers could use his roster spot to bring in a player who can help right now.
The news came soon after that Markieff Morris intends to sign with the Lakers once he clears waivers after agreeing to a buyout with the Detroit Pistons. He provides solid shooting from beyond the arc and another big body to hang with frontcourt players, as well as another player who is not afraid to mix it up come playoff time.
Despite being waived, there is still a good chance that Cousins re-signs with the Lakers in the upcoming offseason given his relationships to Anthony Davis and Rajon Rondo. If his rehab goes well, he could be a serviceable bench player for a team that has clearly struggled to score when LeBron James is off the floor.
While it is unfortunate that Los Angeles never got to see Cousins in a Laker jersey during the 2019-20 NBA season, Morris is a welcomed addition who should be able to contribute right away for one of the NBA’s championship contenders.