As NBA free agency rolls along, the bulk of the attention remains on Kawhi Leonard and specifically the Los Angeles Lakers’ pursuit of him. It remains unknown whether the former Toronto Raptors forward will choose to re-up with the team he won a title with or head to Los Angeles to join the Lakers or Clippers.
Leonard’s pending decision will impact a number of players, but one of the biggest could be DeMarcus Cousins, for a number of reasons. While Cousins signed a one-year deal with the Golden State Warriors, it was believed he’d enter 2019 free agency with a chance to receive a big payday.
To this point, that hasn’t been the case, and as ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported on ‘Get Up,’ Cousins’ interest around the league is “thin.” He also cited that Cousins could wind up landing somewhere on a deal that’s even below the mid-level exception, which is almost unbelievable to hear.
But beyond that, it appears Cousins may have his attention locked on one situation involving Leonard, and it relates to the Lakers.
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DeMarcus Cousins ‘Watching’ Lakers, Kawhi Leonard
On the same segment of ESPN’s ‘Get Up,’ NBA analyst Tim Bontemps joined to speak about the situation with Cousins. While he spoke about the overall early outlook in free agency and the number of teams who had cap space, he made an interesting point about the Lakers.
As Bontemps pointed out, Cousins may be watching the Lakers’ pursuit of Leonard “as closely as anybody” at this point. This stems from the fact that they would be one of the few teams left who could pay him a decent contract if they missed on Leonard.
“I think he’s probably watching this Kawhi Leonard situation as closely as anybody. Because the one team that could theoretically give him a decent contract now is the Lakers. If Kawhi goes there, that’s obviously off the board, but if he doesn’t, they have $32 million in cap space that maybe they could give him some of.” Bontemps stated.
The fact Cousins can’t seem to get a deal anywhere in free agency at this point is surprising. His market hasn’t taken shape and he’s now left watching and waiting. While there will certainly be suitors at some point in the near future, when that happens remains a question mark.
DeMarcus Cousins’ Potential Fit With Lakers
Regardless, if the Lakers do have the money to spend, they could certainly be a team to make a run at him with the idea of pairing him back up with Anthony Davis. We saw Davis and Cousins have success with the New Orleans Pelicans, and I think the duo could thrive while playing alongside LeBron James as well.
Beyond that, Cousins would be one of the top free agents left on the board at that point and could give the Lakers a strong center while leaving money left over to spend elsewhere. Assuming his contract is reasonable, it would set the team up to round out their roster with some instant-impact players.