All signs were pointing to the Los Angeles Lakers signing DeMarcus “Boogie” Cousins after the team released Quinn Cook to open up a roster spot. Hours later, The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported the Rockets were officially releasing Cousins after weeks of rumors about his future in Houston. According to the Los Angeles Times’ Dan Woike and Broderick Turner, the Lakers are not expected to make a run at Cousins despite Cook’s release.
“There are no immediate plans to fill Cook’s roster spot, and multiple people with knowledge of the situation said they don’t expect the Lakers to reunite with Houston center DeMarcus Cousins if he becomes available as expected,” The Los Angeles Times detailed. “The team will, however, monitor the buyout and trade markets for potential additions to their frontcourt.”
During interviews conducted by Heavy.com’s Sean Deveney, multiple league executives panned the idea of Cousins re-joining the Lakers. The latest indications are the Lakers share this belief choosing to hold their newfound roster spot open potentially for a buyout player that hits the market in the coming weeks.
“In the end, you have to think they could do better,” one league executive told Heavy. “Cousins is a big name but so what? Can he still play? Is he better than Trevor Ariza or P.J. Tucker or even like a Wayne Ellington, a shooter they need? I don’t see how he can step in and make them better. The Lakers have one shot at finding someone to help and they need to be careful with it. I don’t think signing Cousins is being careful.”
What Are the Lakers Looking for in Their Next Roster Addition?
Despite the majority of speculation revolving around newly available free agents, the Lakers could also use the spot to take back another player via trade before the March 25th deadline. It is difficult to read too much into the Lakers’ needs in recent games with Anthony Davis and Dennis Schroder both sidelined.
Two possible areas for the Lakers to address with their next roster move is adding more three-point shooting in addition to big men depth. As Heavy detailed earlier, center Hassan Whiteside is a potential target for the Lakers. Charania detailed why the Lakers valued the open roster spot more than keeping Cook, especially given the team’s current depth issues.
“The Lakers valued Cook, but because of their hard-cap status, this gives the franchise flexibility to play the buyout market,” Charania tweeted. “They will be a compelling destination for [prospective] buyout players.”
John Wall on Cousins: ‘Hopefully, He’ll Get Another Job Soon’
Even if the Lakers added Cousins, it is reasonable to question how much he would boost the team’s chances of repeating. Cousins is averaging 9.6 points, 7.6 rebounds and 2.4 assists in 20.2 minutes per game through his 25 appearances. Cousins’ Former Rockets teammate John Wall spoke highly of his impact on games so far this season.
“It’s tough. Someone I call my brother,” Wall explained, per The Athletic’s Kelly Iko. “The decision that was made, that’s out of my hands. I think he did a hell of a job coming back from an injury, hopefully he’ll get another job soon.”