Lakers Release Injured Star to Add Markieff Morris: Report

demarcus cousins

Getty DeMarcus Cousin, LeBron James and Anthony Davis.

The Los Angeles Lakers made their first notable roster move this season on Friday as it was reported by Shams Charania that the team is adding Markieff Morris. Naturally, since the team is adding a player, they had to let go of a player to make room. However, the Lakers have turned heads as they’ve decided that they are going to waive DeMarcus Cousins to make for Morris, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Ramona Shelburne.

Cousins had yet to play a game for the purple and gold due to a torn ACL he suffered back in offseason. There was hope that he would return at some point and possibly help make a difference in the playoffs, but it’s clear that the Lakers didn’t see that as a realistic possibility. It’s a somewhat surprising move for the team to make, but considering his chances of playing again this season weren’t great, it makes sense to open up his roster spot for somebody who is actually going to play.

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Lakers Recently Talked About a Cousins Return

It was just during All-Star weekend when head coach Frank Vogel made it seem like Cousins could be ready for a playoff run. However, on Thursday, Vogel made a potential Cousins return seem less likely.

“There is no date,” Vogel said Thursday, per Melissia Rohlin of Sports Illustrated. “And there’s really no specifics on it in terms of I’m not even sure where he’s at with exactly what he’s doing day to day. I just still know he’s a long way away. But they’ve said they’re not ruling out him returning. That’s really all I can give you.”

Considering Yahoo Sports’ Chris Haynes reported that the Lakers actually informed Cousins of the move on Thursday, it’s likely that Vogel was already aware of the impending move when he spoke to the media. Los Angeles was very patient with Cousins and waited plenty of time before they moved on. It’s possible that they got a disappointing injury update and decided that it wouldn’t be worth it to hold a spot for him on the roster.

Could Lakers Bring Cousins Back Next Season?

Though Cousins will not be suiting up for the Lakers this season, there’s always the possibility that he comes back for next year when he’s healthy. It was always going to be a longshot that he would come back for 2019-2020. However, he should be completely healthy at the start of the next NBA season. He still won’t command big money because of his recent injury history, so the Lakers would probably get him for cheap again.

At the end of the day, the NBA is a business. It is possible Cousins is upset with the Lakers for not holding a spot for him, but another opportunity to play with Anthony Davis may be too good for him to pass up. It remains to be seen if the Lakers will want him back, but considering they waited this long for him to get healthy, it’s easy to believe they’d want him back once he’s at 100%.

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