After a very busy offseason, the Los Angeles Lakers aren’t exactly flush with cash. The team is expected to get involved in the buyout market but has to make some tough decisions. According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, Los Angeles has already made one.
The Lakers are waiving veteran guard Quinn Cook.
This season, Cook has only averaged 3.9 minutes a game with 2.1 points, which were both career lows. He was part of last season’s championship team but was let go in the offseason. The Lakers decided to bring him back before the season started up but he hasn’t had much of a role. With other needs more pressing, it’s not surprising the team is letting him go.
John Hollinger of The Athletic recently speculated that the Lakers could waive Cook and bring him back on a 10-day deal. As Charania pointed out, there should be interest in the veteran around the league. A return to Los Angeles seems possible but he could feasibly get a better offer and more playing time with another team. It seems that this might be the last time the Lakers have a chance to cut Cook this season.
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Why Let Go of Cook Now?
Cook is a well-liked veteran presence on the team. He’s won two championships and has been part of some of the best NBA teams over the past decade. Unfortunately for him, he just never has been able to find much of a role on the court for the Lakers. At 5 p.m. Eastern on February 24, contracts become guaranteed for players who don’t get waived. Los Angeles couldn’t afford to guarantee Cook’s contract so they had to let him go.
Considering the fact that he didn’t have much of a role on the team, he was a logical player to let go if the Lakers intend to add a new piece.
Are the Lakers Planning to Make a Move?
The decision to waive Cook right now likely means that the Lakers are gunning on adding another player. Charania pointed out that Los Angeles will have added flexibility on the buyout market.
There are a couple of names to keep an eye on. One logical fit would be DeMarcus Cousins. He’s expected to get let go by the Houston Rockets soon and the Lakers are reportedly interested. Cousins was with the purple and gold for most of last season but never got a chance to play due to injury. He’s healthy now and with Anthony Davis banged up, it could make sense to bring “Boogie” back now.
Trevor Ariza would also be a compelling addition. He’s already won a championship with the Lakers a decade ago. He’s currently stuck with the Oklahoma City Thunder right now but it seems highly unlikely he’s with them for the rest of the season. The Lakers could use a player who shoots well and plays strong defense. Ariza would bring back that to them. There will likely be more names that get linked to Los Angeles but Cousins and Ariza might make the most sense.