Although the Los Angeles Lakers announced they have waived DeMarcus Cousins, his ongoing presence at Staples Center has raised questions about his future with the team.
Cousins has spent the 2019-20 NBA season recovering from a torn ACL he suffered during the offseason after signing a one-year deal with the Lakers. The team initially had high hopes that he would be slated for a potential return by the time the 2020 NBA playoffs rolled around, but their decision suggests that it was not going to come to fruition.
As a result, Los Angeles opted to cut him in order to make room for Markieff Morris following his buyout with the Detroit Pistons. Regardless, it seems that another deal with Cousins could be in the works.
According to Joe Vardon of The Athletic, the Lakers are reportedly exploring the prospect of re-signing Cousins in 2020 NBA free agency:
News broke Friday that the Lakers planned to waive Cousins and add Morris (once he cleared waivers Sunday), yet, Cousins has remained around the team. He was at Staples Friday night, and on Saturday was on the Lakers’ practice court, rehabbing his torn ACL. The Athletic’s Shams Charania is reporting Cousins, who is out for the year anyway, plans to remain in Los Angeles and continue his rehab.
While Cousins plans on keeping his rehab going in Los Angeles, he will no longer be allowed to travel with the team or sit on the bench:
Well, Cousins won’t be able to do that anymore. Per league rules, he can continue his rehab with the Lakers, at their practice facility, but he can’t fly on the team plane or sit on the bench once he’s waived. But the Lakers could re-sign him this summer, something both sides have expressed interest in pursuing, sources said.
Cousins’ absence from the games is undoubtedly a huge downside for fans and players alike that had gotten accustomed to his presence on the bench. Despite not being able to play, it is clear that he has helped contribute to the strong team chemistry the Lakers established this season.
Cousins’ experience has also helped pay huge dividends for young players like Kyle Kuzma after enduring his fair share of struggles this season. Meanwhile, the possibility of him mounting a huge comeback from his recent rash of injuries would provide a major boost to a frontcourt that is already rich with talent.