The Lakers signed Morris — who agreed to a buyout with the Detroit Pistons earlier in the week — to $1.75 million Disabled Player Exception.
Cousins did not play a game for the Lakers and had been rehabbing from a torn ACL, hoping to make a return this season. There were rumors that Cousins — a four-time All-Star — could return for a playoff run for the Lakers, but the team opted instead to bring in someone who can immediately make an impact in Morris.
However, the move might not be the end of the line for Cousins in the purple and gold. The Lakers and Cousins have expressed mutual interest in reuniting next season, according to Joe Vardon of The Athletic.
Vardon also points out that while Cousins will be able to remain at the team facilities to rehab his injury, he won’t be allowed to travel on the team jet or sit on the bench.
DeMarcus Cousins Model Teammate With Lakers
Despite not playing a game, Cousins made his presence felt in the locker room, which is likely a large reason that the Lakers are willing to bring him back next season.
“DeMarcus has been here rehabbing and been a great member of this team behind the scenes that nobody gets to see because the only thing he can do is be a good teammate and travel, and show up to every game and have a good attitude,” Lakers guard Alex Caruso said. “And he’s done that and been one of the best teammates as far as just keeping everybody’s energy high and not too low.”
When talk was circulating that Cousins could make a playoff return, LeBron James was excited about the opportunity to add his skillset to the Lakers’ arsenal.
“If we can get Cuz anywhere back to what he was capable of doing a couple of years ago, it’s a big plus for us. There’s no pressure on him, there’s no pressure on our ball club to have him out there right away,” James told reporters, via Silver Screen and Roll. “We want him to be healthy and have a great clear mind and great attitude, which he’s done since he’s been down here.”
Anthony Davis, DeMarcus Cousins Have History
Cousins also has a tight relationship with Lakers superstar Anthony Davis, who he played with previously in New Orleans. The prospect of playing the two former Kentucky stars alongside James is something that intrigues the Lakers once Cousins gets healthy.
“We clicked,” Cousins recently told Matt Barnes and Stephen Jackson on their Showtime show, All the Smoke on his previous partnership with Davis. “It was, I believe, something special. I think we could’ve went on a run. Once we got everything around us correct, there was no stopping us.”
Davis has expressed similar sentiment in the past.
“We can only imagine what we could have done,” Davis said, via The Athletic. “Me and him were definitely a force to reckon with. And having Jrue (Holiday) playing the way he was playing and obviously (Rajon) Rondo leading the pack, it was something that we wish he could have stayed healthy and we could have made a run at something special. … But then another opportunity here (with the Lakers) and the same thing happened.”
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