The Los Angeles Lakers got a steal when they signed big man DeMarcus Cousins to a contract this offseason.
Things changed when the big man tore his ACL in his left knee during an offseason workout.
A few days before Christmas, Boogie was spotted working out with Lakers assistant coach, Phil Handy at Staples Center.
Cousins looked fluid.
The fifth pick by the Sacramento Kings in the 2010 NBA Draft by way of the University of Kentucky, Cousins has career averages of 21.2 points, 10.9 rebounds, 3.2 assists, 1.4 steals and 1.2 blocks per contest.
DeMarcus Cousins Achilles Injury in New Orleans
The injury bug has been unkind to Cousins. As a member of the New Orleans Pelicans during the 2017-2018 season, Cousins was causing havoc on the court. Cousins averaged 25.2 points, 12.9 rebounds and 5.4 assists. In a Januray 26, 2018 game against the Houston Rockets, Cousins tore his left Achilles and had season-ending surgery to repair it.
Cousins was a free agent that summer and reportedly had no real suitors.
According to multiple reports, Cousins decided to sign with the Warriors because there were no other teams interested.
Cousins did what he had to do in the NBA free agency.
“He’s loyal, he wants to be in New Orleans, that I know,” Cousins’ high school coach, Otis Hughley told me on the Scoop B Radio Podcast last year.
“I would like to see him play with AD again, but the way the business model was set up, and the salary cap may make it tougher for New Orleans to step out there.”
That didn’t happen.
DeMarcus Cousins’ Warriors Tenure
“I believe everyone on our team has a very high IQ when it comes to the game of basketball,” DeMarcus Cousins told me last summer.
“All of us know how to play the game of basketball.”
Cousins had never appeared in the NBA Playoffs until last season as a member of the Warriors. He tallied 16.3 points, 8.2 rebounds, 3.6 assists, 1.5 blocks and 1.3 steals in 30 regular-season games last season.
The Warriors appeared in the NBA Finals last season and would end up lost to eventual champions, the Toronto Raptors.
DeMarcus Cousins’ Summer Free Agency Decision
This summer, the Boston Celtics, New York Knicks and Miami Heat had interest in Cousins.
The Knicks ended up signing Julius Randle, the Celics signed Enes Kanter and the Heat brought in Jimmy Butler in hopes of signing Cousins to a midlevel exception or veterans minimum deal.
Cousins thought differently.
On July 6, Cousins opted to sign with the Lakers on a $3.5 million deal. The move reunited Boogie with former Pelicans teammates Rajon Rondo and Anthony Davis.
While Cousins is on the mend, he’s been traveing with the Lakers and has been visible on the team’s bench.
“With DeMarcus [Cousins] going down it definitely hurt,” Anthony Davis told me this summer.
“But we picked up Dwight and we’ll see how it goes.”
Boogie’s Lakers Impact
Cousins has been part of team film session and been an asset to the team’s coaching staff as well. His input to the Lakers’ culture has been good according to Lakers vet, Jared Dudley.
“He’s the perfect (example of) ‘Don’t judge a book by its cover,’” Dudley told The Athletic’s Bill Oram.
“Because I have judged him for how he acted on the court. To see him now, to see his maturity as a man more than a basketball player, it’s impressive.”
Million Dollar Question: When will Boogie return?
“We’ve not closed the door on that,” Lakers head coach, Frank Vogel said a month ago.
“We’re going to be a wait and see. With these injuries that are long rehabs, you have to see and take it kind of month to month and see where he’s at. But we’ve not closed the door on a possible return for him.”