The Brookly Nets are surging with five straight wins, four of which came without Eastern Conference All-Star captain Kevin Durant. Their offense is firing on all cylinders, and they’re finally seeing their defense click as well.
Still, with eyes on a deep playoff run and the franchise’s first Finals appearance since 2003, the Nets could still stand to improve their depth. And one big name looks like he’s about to hit the open market.
Boogie to Brooklyn?
The Houston Rockets and center DeMarcus Cousins are planning to part ways in coming days, according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania. Charania noted that the Rockets want to go smaller and younger in their frontcourt, and this would allow Cousins to find an opportunity elsewhere.
Since trading away center Jarrett Allen and forward Taurean Prince as part of the four-team deal that landed them Harden, the Nets have been rumored to be in the market for several big men, including Cleveland’s Andre Drummond and JaVale McGee, Detroit’s Blake Griffin and free agent Kenneth Faried.
Add Cousins to the list. The 30-year-old center has four All-Star appearances on his resume. He tore his ACL in August 2019 but has proven to be healthy this season, averaging 9.4 points and 7.6 rebounds in 25 games for Houston. Charania, citing sources, said the 6-foot-10 Cousins has drawn positive feedback when it comes to his professionalism and play during his time with the Rockets.
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Cousins also has several ties to the Nets. He played with Durant on the 2018-19 Golden State team, where Nets coach Steve Nash was a consultant at the time. He also spent time with Durant — as well as Kyrie Irving and DeAndre Jordan — on Team USA’s 2016 Olympic team.
Of course, he also spent time earlier this season with Harden in Houston…
One Glaring Issue Between Cousins and Nets
One big factor between a Boogie and Brooklyn marriage is the way Cousins reacted to Harden’s breakup with the Houston Rockets. Before the disgruntled Harden was dealt to the Nets on January 14, Cousins voiced his frustration with the eight-time All-Star and 2018 NBA MVP. He said Harden’s antics with the Rockets earlier this season — when Harden was late to training camp and voiced his own displeasure with Houston — were “completely unfair” to the rest of the players on the roster.
“Obviously, it’s disrespectful, but everybody has a right to their opinion,” Cousins said, per ESPN’s Tim MacMahon. “We feel a certain type of way about some of his actions.
“This is the nasty part of the business that kind of gets swept under the rug. You deal with some of these things. When guys are in positions of being franchise players or whatever the case may be, it’s usually sometimes a nasty breakup.”