It is a disappointing day for Los Angeles Lakers fans who not only lost out on Kawhi Leonard, but the All-Star will be playing in the same building for their in-town rival. The Lakers rebounded by making a run at DeMarcus “Boogie” Cousins. The Lakers signed Cousins to a one-year deal, per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. ESPN’s Bobby Marks reported that the Lakers had about $5.5 million in cap space prior to signing Cousins.
“The Lakers will need to take pen to paper on each of the free agent (except for the room ML) agreements before they conduct the Anthony Davis trade. Right now, LAL projects to have $5.5M in room (if Cook or McGee signs with room) and the $4.8M exception,” Marks tweeted.
The Lakers were in a position to make a competitive offer for Cousins, but the question was whether L.A. would pursue the big man. Davis played with Cousins in New Orleans which ended with mixed results. The presence of LeBron James made the move a little different this time around.
Overshadowed by the disappointment of not signing Leonard, the Lakers are quietly building a nice roster around their stars. Prior to Cousins, Los Angeles added shooting in Quinn Cook and Danny Green, a trait that was sorely lacking in the LeBron Lakers 1.0 squad.
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Cousins Had Been Linked to the Spurs & Wizards
Cousins signed another short-term prove-it deal as he did last summer with the Warriors. The Washington Post’s Candace Buckner previously reported that the Wizards had talks with Cousins.
“I’m hearing that #Wizards interim president of basketball operations Tommy Sheppard spoke briefly with free agent DeMarcus Cousins recently in Las Vegas. The conversation was described as just small talk but still — a very interesting development,” Buckner tweeted.
Spurs guard DeMar DeRozan was pursuing Cousins as well. The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported that DeRozan had “direct communication” with Cousins.
“I’m told he’s had direct communication with some star players of other teams, one being DeMar DeRozan of the Spurs,” Charania said, per Yahoo Sports.
Prior to the Leonard news, NBA writer Vince Ells reported that Cousins was waiting to see what the Lakers ended up doing in free agency. The Lakers likely ended up using the majority of their remaining space on Cousins, rather than opting to split the space more evenly among a few players. When Cousins sustained another quad injury during the playoffs, James showed his support on Twitter for the big man.
Cousins Switched Agents During Free Agency
Obviously not pleased with still being on the market, Cousins opted to switch agents during free agency. The New York Times’ Marc Stein detailed the move.
“The former All-Star center DeMarcus Cousins, in his search for a new home in free agency after spending last season with the Warriors, has changed representation … enlisting the influential agent Jeff Schwartz of Excel Sports,” Stein tweeted.
At this point in free agency, most teams have used their cap space, so it seemed unlikely the former All-Star would land a major offer. Like the Warriors, the Lakers made a lot of sense on a short-term contract as Cousins’ visibility would be at an all-time high. The Stepien’s Cole Zwicker called a potential Cousins signing a “no brainer” for the Lakers.
“The Lakers need another ball-handler that isn’t Rondo to preserve Bron who can defend and shoot. Think they should entertain a Tyus offer sheet. Morris and Boogie are no-brainer adds. JaMychal as well for depth. Still have $18M in room & the room MLE (could be set aside for KCP),” Zwicker tweeted.