The Los Angeles Lakers went into 2018 free agency with grand plans, though president of basketball operations Magic Johnson also noted the front office considered it the start of a two-year window of overhaul the franchise.
While the Lakers were spurned by Paul George, the first domino fell into place when LeBron James signed a four-year contract. The Lakers opted to keep their young core intact throughout the summer but did attempt to complete a trade for Anthony Davis at this season’s deadline.
Although the Lakers will have a max-contract slot available in free agency this summer, they aren’t necessarily considered a favorite for any of the top talent that’s due to reach the open market — Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, Kawhi Leonard and Klay Thompson.
In the event they are relegated to pursuing second-tier free agents, ESPN’s Tim McMahon said on the “The Hoop Collective” podcast there are rumblings of DeMarcus Cousins being a possibility for the Lakers, in addition to DeAndre Jordan:
“That’s definitely a rumor out there. DeAndre Jordan, too.”
The Lakers were said to have had interest in Jordan if he was bought out by the New York Knicks. Despite appearing to prioritize their odds to secure the No. 1 overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, the Knicks kept Jordan past the deadline for players to be waived and remain playoff eligible with a new team.
As for Cousins, he signed a one-year contract with the Golden State Warriors in effort to re-establish his value. Cousins was on track to presumably receive a max contract last summer but that changed when he suffered a torn Achilles tendon.
While he might not yet be at his pre-injury level, Cousins’ presence down low could be an intriguing option for the Lakers if they are to miss out on the likes of Durant and Irving. Or, depending on how Cousins’ market takes shape, he could be signed as a complementary piece.