In these unprecedented times, the NBA has made some unprecedented changes. The league will reboot on July 31 in Orlando, Florida with 22 teams. Nothing is set in stone yet, but it’s possible the NBA will also allow teams to expand their rosters to hold 17 to 20 players. That could give some unexpected opportunities for a number of free-agent players.
The Los Angeles Lakers could benefit from a potential roster expansion. DeMarcus Cousins spent most of the season on the roster before the team had to cut him to sign Markieff Morris. He stayed connected with the team after he was let go and has now had a few extra months to get healthy. According to Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report, there’s a possibility of a reunion:
“Maybe,” one Western Conference executive said.
A former executive said of Cousins and the Lakers, “That’s the only team. He respects [LeBron James], and he’s [Anthony Davis’] boy. [Other teams] don’t want that distraction. There’s a small window of time to play, and you can’t let up.”
If Cousins’ goal is to play this season, it will probably have to be with the Lakers. He knows the team and has played with Davis before.
How many impacts Could Cousins Have?
It would certainly be interesting if Cousins was finally able to make his Lakers debut. Los Angeles had a loaded frontcourt, but the big man is one of the best in the game when he is healthy. Putting Cousins on the court with Davis and LeBron could be a seriously scary lineup.
However, it’s anybody’s guess how healthy he is right now. Cousins hasn’t played to All-Star form since the 2017-2018 season. A torn ACL is not an injury that players can always come back from. Cousins is relatively young at 29 but he’s a massive individual. There’s definitely a shot he could return to form but it’s going to take work and patience. It seems unlikely he’d want to compromise his rehab to play this season. If the Lakers do sign him, his role could be very small. That said, the risk could be worth the reward. If he plays as he has in the past, the team would have a bona fide big three.
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Other Potential Free Agent Targets
Regardless of whether or not the Lakers do sign Cousins, they should still look to add ball-handling help if the roster expands. The team was heavily linked to Darren Collison this season before he decided to stay retired. Perhaps the shortened season could have him intrigued to try and win a title with his hometown team.
Jamal Crawford is 40 but is still capable of getting some points off the bench. With the added rest, he could have some fresh legs. Tyler Johnson was another guard who was linked to the Lakers this season. The two sides never struck a deal but he could offer some ball-handling help off the bench. There aren’t a ton of strong options being this far removed from the season. The Lakers roster should pretty much be set at the top. However, it doesn’t hurt to add some depth if the league is allowing more players on each roster.