Lakers, Cousins Have Mutual Interest In Offseason Deal

DeMarcus Cousins is currently on waivers after being released by the Lakers on Sunday to make room for Markieff Morris. However, sources tell Joe Vardon of The Athletic that both sides have expressed interest in pursuing a new deal in the offseason.

Even after being cut by the Lakers, Cousins is expected to continue rehabbing his torn ACL at the club’s practice facility. Not being on the roster means the big man can no longer travel with the team or sit on the bench during games, but the two sides are clearly still on good terms.

There was a belief that Cousins’ close relationship with multiple Lakers players – including former Pelicans teammate Anthony Davis – and the possibility of recovering from his ACL tear by the playoffs might keep his roster spot safe. However, despite some optimism about Cousins’ rehab timetable, the idea that he’d be able to contribute in the postseason this spring always seemed overly aggressive, as I noted last week when head coach Frank Vogel left the door open for the 29-year-old’s return.

In recent years, players like Zach LaVine, Jabari Parker, and Kristaps Porzingis, who have suffered torn ACLs, have taken at least 11-12 months to make it back, and it has generally taken them much longer than that to look like their old selves. Cousins tore his left ACL last August, after previously recovering from a torn Achilles and torn quad in the same leg.

By the time opening night arrives in 2020/21, Cousins will have had upwards of 14 months to recover from the injury, so that seems like a safer, more realistic target date. As such, waiving him instead of a healthy bench player was the logical move for the Lakers.

Because they’ve waived him, the Lakers will no longer have Cousins’ Non-Bird rights this offseason, but after so many major injuries – and with so many teams lacking cap flexibility – he’s unlikely to command significant offers on the open market. L.A. could potentially bring him back using the minimum salary exception or part of the mid-level exception.

It’s worth noting that if Cousins were to sign a new one-year contract with the Lakers in July and play out that deal, the club would hold his Early Bird rights in the summer of 2021. That would give L.A. the flexibility to offer him a significant raise if he has a strong bounce-back season.

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26 thoughts on “Lakers, Cousins Have Mutual Interest In Offseason Deal

  1. imindless

    Not going to another team, it was probably already pre determined and talked about before they made the move.

    • JD Candello

      Agreed I just worry we wont be able to re-sign Dwight and use Cousins in such role – Think Dwight is probably the better overall fit

      • Gravy Train

        Given how well Howard has played this season, it is likely he will get a more lucrative contract than the Lakers can afford. Hopefully Cousins can replace him and stay healthy. I have to assume that is what the Lakers are thinking, as well. Nevertheless, it is clear that Cousins has had a positive influence on the team by just being around them and it’s good to hear that will continue.

        • JD Candello

          My fear as well Gravy, Lakers probably arent giving out anything more than 1 yrs next yr as well-

          Dwights gonna have to def sacrifice a lot if hes going to sign here on a 1 yr mid level exception max……..

          He’d oddly fit great in Hou although that bridge is probably burned

          • Chief Two Hands

            Personally, I don’t know why any big man would want to play for D’Antoni. He simply doesn’t know how to utilize them. When D’Antoni was coaching the Lakers he had arguably two of the best big men in the game at the time is Pau and Howard and refused to go inside even after Kobe got injured. He even tried forcing Pau to be a 3-point shooter. I recall Kobe tweeting “Go inside! Go inside!” During the playoffs and D’Antoni’s response when asked about it was just to say “oh, Kobe’s gonna say what Kobe’s gonna say.” Of course, Kobe was right and the Lakers were beaten easily in the first round. D’Antoni is tremendously overrated as a coach. His coaching “method” is simply to put the ball in his star guard’s hands and run him into the ground. Works ok in the regular season, not so much in the playoffs. And D’Antoni seems completely incapable of making adjustments. Ok, that is my rant. This is a D’Antoni article, right?

            • Chief Two Hands

              I do agree that Howard will probably sign elsewhere for more money than the Lakers can offer. I would be sorry to see him go because he has been very good this season and a pleasant surprise for the Lakers, but I think he deserves whatever contract he can get. I’m sure the Lakers would love to keep him, but financially it doesn’t look like a realistic option.

            • JD Candello

              Totally agree with DAntoni but you dont really go inside to dwight anymore- Hes def and Oreb with no plays required ran for him /something I think fits Hou perfect

          • GABEPERKINS1

            Harden hates him and Howard hates d antoni.. only team i can see making a run at him is clippers or warriors


    I see the odd man out is JaVale mcgee next year with d cousins and Howard our 2 centers.. I don’t think Howard would leave for the highest Paycheck next year.. if he did than all of the stuff he’s been saying about happiness would be a load of crap.. boogie is a legit 3rd option if he’s right physicallyzz he’s a skilled big man.. his game isn’t based on athleticism.. it’s based on skill and bully ball.. so I don’t think the injuries will hinder him as much as people think.. next year will be right at 14 months of recovery for acl..

    • Dxit90a

      Doubt you can keep Howard and cousins next year. Howard will get paid maybe 8-10 mm per year and cousins will get mid level . Also Howard will want to play mor significant minutes after proving him self this year 25 to 30 min . Cousins also would want to play that amount. If I had to choice one I would chose Howard because Cousins is a defensive liability.

      • Gravy Train

        Howard will certainly get paid more than Cousins next season. My only real concern with Cousins replacing Howard is his health.

      • JD Candello

        Losing Howard would be a huge hit in the last bridge yr for the Lakers-

        Would Howard take the 1 yr mid level from lakes IF

        Cousins took peanuts on a 1 yr 3.5 ?

        IDK but I will say We def need to do everything possible to re-tain Dwight 2021

      • harden-westbrook-mvps

        You’re severely overvaluing them. It won’t cost anything close to that, backup centers are a dime a dozen in today’s NBA. Boogie gets a minimum contract with something like $250K guaranteed. Dwight might get $3.5M which is what Boogie got last year.

          • mcdusty49

            I hate to agree with Rockets boy but at this point with the injury history I don’t think Boogie commands too much in free agency

    • Danieley3

      Totally agree with Perk… Dwight AND JaVale COULD both make more money elsewhere, and if JaVale’s Option is a Player Option, I‘m almost certain he’ll opt out (his representation will be begging him to at least) and finally get a big money deal outta his skill, that’s only really come together the past 2-3 years… I feel like this is the REAL Dwight Howard the Lakers are getting this year, in terms of personality/maturity. And if so, with the place he seems to be in, so happy and so content, I think that’ll take precedent over money this time. Without looking, I’d guess Dwight’s made somewhere around $250-$300 mil in his career already (on the court alone). Perhaps the expectations that came with all of those big contracts he received were the root of his issues, which always seemed mental… All that said, McGee moves elsewhere with Dwight/Boogie locking in the 5 spot for the Lakers next season (Dwight 2/20, Cousins 1/MLE). The Lakers do have a TON coming off the books at years end, with a giant Brow hopefully getting most of it thrown at him.


    Howard is at a point in his career when it isn’t about money.. it’s about his love and enjoying the game.. there’s not a lot of teams utilizing the true center.. that is becoming extinct.. so highly doubt Howard would get a 10 mill year contract.. mid level at most..

    • x%sure

      The MLE is 9.8.
      Interesting debate. I can’t see anyone turning that down if the Lakers offer the min.
      Howard is oldest & has the lesser stats. Also the refs don’t seem to like him.

  4. #1BrandonIngramFan

    Got a feeling Dwight might take the money from a team taking a risk on him again, too much for the Lakers to keep, and McGee is locked up for 4m next season. If Cousins is amiable to a team-friendly contract, go for it. He’ll probably never be like before, but you don’t really need an all-world center with AD on the team.

  5. Of course Cousins says he would come back because with 2 back to back injured seasons there might not be many teams willing to give him a chance.

    • Chief Two Hands

      I get the impression that he really likes this Lakers team and that the feeling is mutual. My guess is that his preference would be to remain with the Lakers rather than go to another organization barring a crazy offer from another team, which seems unlikely.

  6. Thronson5

    Been a fan of Cousins for a while and was so excited about him playing for the Lakers. Hopefully he can come back and have a decent year. Love Howard & hate to lose him, he’s been very solid for this team. If it came down to choosing one you’d think it would be cousins but I’d love to see both back if possible

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