NBA Free Agency Rumors: Lakers Could Not Wait On DeMarcus Cousins To Return From Achilles Injury
Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

In one of the most surprising moves in NBA history, DeMarcus Cousins signed with the Golden State Warriors. As the defending champions potentially have five All-Star players in the starting lineup for the 2018-19 NBA season, the Los Angeles Lakers could have prevented it from happening.

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After renouncing Julius Randle and then signing Rajon Rondo, the Lakers have approximately $5 million remaining in cap space, which Cousins was reportedly willing to sign for.

Instead, the Lakers passed on him and he eventually signed a one-year, $5.8 million deal with the Warriors.

With Cousins still recovering from a ruptured Achilles injury and not expected to return until January or February, that played a major role in the team’s decision, according to Marc Stein of New York Times:

As the Lakers are looking to be as competitive as possible, they could not wait on Cousins to return at the midpoint of the season:

The Lakers and Cousins have previously been linked before, so this was a difficult decision for president of basketball operations Magic Johnson and general manager Rob Pelinka. While the four-time All-Star is only 27-years-old, a ruptured Achilles is a devastating injury very few players have recovered from.

With the Lakers passing on Cousins, they could still use another center to balance out the roster. Brook Lopez, who was acquired from the Brooklyn Nets last year, could be an option with the team’s remaining cap space.

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