The Los Angeles Lakers continue to eye their options to improve the roster and plan to work out big man Meyers Leonard on Friday.
The Lakers have been investigating available big-man help with Anthony Davis sidelined and Damian Jones turning in a disappointing season. They recently worked out veteran big man Cody Zeller while on the road and also have DeMarcus Cousins on the books for a workout on Friday.
Leonard’s workout was first reported by Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium. It’s been nearly two years since Leonard has played in an NBA game and he comes with some baggage. He was suspended indefinitely by the Heat during 2020-21 season for using an anti-Semitic slur during a Twitch live stream. Leonard was later traded to the Thunder as salary-filler in a trade and was then released.
Charnia noted that Meyers has “spent time with Jewish leaders and immersed himself in the Jewish community over the last couple years — which the league has been aware of.”
Leonard has averaged 5.6 points and 3.9 rebounds a game over his career but is a unique addition due to his size and shooting ability. He’s listed at 7-foot-1 and has shot the 3-ball at 39% clip. With the Lakers’ lack of shooting, his ability as a stretch-5 could be useful for LA.
DeMarcus Cousins Could Bring Offensive Spark for Lakers
Cousins is another interesting name the Lakers wanted to get a closer look at. The former All-Star big man had his career derailed by injuries. He tore his ACL while with the Pelicans in 2018 and tore then quad during his stint with the Golden State Warriors.
After his stint with the Warriors, Cousins signed a one-year deal with the Lakers but never got on the court, tearing his ACL again prior to training camp. He most recently played with the Denver Nuggets, appearing in 31 games and averaging 8.9 points and 5.5 rebounds, playing 13.9 minutes per game.
Cousins told Yahoo Sports in October that he had been working out every day, staying in shape for when an opportunity came knocking.
“I’m just trying to control what I can control,” Cousins said. “This process can get repetitive and get to the point where it can kind of drive you crazy, but you just have to fall in love with the process. Every day I’m working out to make sure I’m better than I was the previous day. So whenever the opportunity does come about and my name is called upon, I’ll be prepared.”
If the Lakers choose to sign either Leonard or Cousins, they can do so with a 10-day deal to see how they acclimate. Sterling Brown is currently on a 10-day contract with the team.
Lakers Battling Through Multiple Key Injuries
The Lakers are dealing with multiple injuries to key players — including Davis, Austin Reaves, Lonnie Walker IV and Patrick Beverley — which has opened the door for a potential signing.
The Lakers lost to the Mavericks in double-overtime on Thursday night and LeBron James pointed out that the multiple lineups they’ve rolled out this season in crunch time hasn’t been easy to deal with.
“The one consistent thing that we have is a billion different lineups. That’s the most consistent. You hear what I’m saying?” James said. “It’s not about trust, because we have trust with whoever is on the floor. But at the end of the day, teams have closing lineups. And we got so many guys that are in and out of the lineup and right now we got a lot of guys that are banged up. So, it’s almost like, who is in a good rhythm that night is going to be probably on the floor along with myself and Russ.”
The Lakers have a few days off before facing the Philadelphia 76ers on Sunday.