DeMarcus Cousins

Southwest Notes: Adams, Cousins, Wood, Haliburton, Covington

The Thunder are trading center Steven Adams to the Pelicans and it isn’t the first time New Orleans tried to make that happen, ESPN’s Royce Young tweets. The Pelicans pursued an Adams trade last offseason when the Thunder shook up their roster by trading Paul George and Russell Westbrook but the teams couldn’t work out an agreement at that time.

We have more news from the Southwest Division:

  • A workout on Monday convinced the Rockets to sign DeMarcus Cousins, Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports tweets. Cousins’ workout squelched any concerns about Cousins’ health, Haynes adds. Cousins agreed to a non-guaranteed one-year deal.
  • The acquisition of Christian Wood should have a major impact on the retooled Rockets, Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle writes. Wood, who’s headed to Houston on a sign-and-trade, should provide elite production in pick-and-rolls with two star play-makers setting him up. Wood’s perimeter shooting will facilitate the Rockets’ small lineups by provide spacing for Westbrook with his ability to attack closeouts off the dribble and finish, Feigen adds.
  • The Mavericks tried to trade up in the draft to land guard Tyrese Haliburton, according to ESPN’s Zach Lowe (hat tip to RealGM). Dallas attempted to trade multiple picks to lottery teams in the 7-11 range to make that move. Haliburton was ultimately selected at No. 12 by the Kings. The Mavs also tried to work out a deal with the Rockets for small forward Robert Covington, according to Jonathan Givony of ESPN, but Houston instead chose to deal him to the Trail Blazers.

Rockets Sign DeMarcus Cousins To One-Year Deal

DECEMBER 1: The Rockets have officially signed Cousins, the team announced today in a press release. Houston now has a full 20-man roster.


NOVEMBER 23: The Rockets and free agent center DeMarcus Cousins have agreed to a one-year, minimum-salary contract, according to Tim MacMahon of ESPN.

Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter links) first reported that the two sides were nearing a deal and says it will be non-guaranteed.

Cousins, 30, has only played in 78 games over the last three seasons – and didn’t play at all in 2019/20 – due to a series of major leg injuries, including a torn Achilles and, most recently, a torn ACL.

He reportedly received contract offers prior to the NBA’s summer restart, but turned them down in order to focus on his rehab. He’s aiming to get back to 100% before returning to action, so it’s not clear yet whether he’ll be ready to go for the start of the season.

A fully-healthy Cousins would be a tantalizing weapon for the Rockets this season. The four-time All-Star has career averages of 21.2 PPG, 10.9 RPG, and 3.2 APG in 565 games, and while he’s certainly unlikely to match those numbers, he’d be a bargain for Houston if he’s able to recapture his old form at all.

Houston’s agreement with Cousins is the latest signal that the team will be pivoting away from its micro-ball approach for 2020/21. The team also agreed to a three-year, $41MM deal with big man Christian Wood.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Western Rumors: Howard, Lakers, Carmelo, Cousins, Kanter, More

Before he agreed to a deal with the Sixers on Friday night, Dwight Howard posted a message on his Twitter account indicating that he would be re-signing with the Lakers.

“I’m staying right where I belong,” Howard wrote. “Laker nation I love y’all. Purple and gold never gets old.”

A few minutes later, the tweet had been deleted, and a little later in the evening, Howard was set to join the 76ers. So what happened?

According to Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports, sources within the Lakers’ organization are adamant that they never put a formal offer on the table for Howard and that they discussed a “deal concept.” Howard, on the other hand, believe that if he agreed to the “deal concept,” the two sides had a deal.

As Haynes writes, Lakers management told Howard’s agent they had to consult with team ownership and get approval before making an official offer. The veteran center waited for almost an hour without hearing back, sources tell Haynes. Ultimately, the communication breakdown resulted in Howard preparing to head east for the 2020/21 season.

Here are a few more free agency notes and rumors from around the Western Conference:

  • The Trail Blazers haven’t ruled out the possibility of re-signing Carmelo Anthony, even after lining up deals to acquire Robert Covington and Derrick Jones, tweets David Aldridge of The Athletic.
  • The Rockets touched base with DeMarcus Cousins‘ camp today, a source told Kelly Iko of The Athletic (Twitter link). Iko’s report came before the team reached a deal with Christian Wood, so it’s not clear whether or not signing Cousins remains an option for Houston.
  • Now that the Lakers aren’t an option for Tristan Thompson, the Clippers could emerge as a real possibility, according to Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com, who notes (via Twitter) that it’d be a chance for Thompson to reunite with Tyronn Lue.
  • The Lakers and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope remain interested in getting a deal done, but will have to reach a compromise on salary, tweets Brad Turner of The Los Angeles Times. Caldwell-Pope is seeking a raise, while the Lakers won’t have a ton of wiggle room below their hard cap.
  • The Celtics gave Enes Kanter a choice of being traded to either the Grizzlies or Trail Blazers in the deal that was completed earlier today, and Kanter chose Portland, a source tells Jared Weiss of The Athletic (Twitter link).
  • Count the Timberwolves among the teams with interest in free agent big man Paul Millsap, according to Darren Wolfson of 5 Eyewitness News (Twitter link).

Free Agent Rumors: Harris, Crowder, Hayward, KCP, Cousins, Hartenstein

There are “strong indications” that the Nets will get a commitment soon from sharpshooter Joe Harris, despite the fact that he’s receiving considerable interest from other suitors, tweets Marc Stein of The New York Times.

As we wait to see if Harris and the Nets come to an agreement, here are a few more free agency rumors:

  • After agreeing to re-sign Goran Dragic and Meyers Leonard early in free agency, the Heat are “in the game” to bring back Jae Crowder as well, tweets Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press. Miami is remaining over the cap and prioritizing retaining its own free agents so far this offseason.
  • As rumors swirl that Gordon Hayward prefers to land with the Pacers, Marc Berman of The New York Post (Twitter link) hears that the free agent forward has little interest in joining the Hawks.
  • Teams that are monitoring Kentavious Caldwell-Pope in free agency expect the Knicks to have interest in the veteran wing, Ian Begley of SNY.tv writes.
  • DeMarcus Cousins is receiving some attention from teams early in free agency tonight, sources tell ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link). It’s not yet clear which teams may be in the hunt for the former All-Star.
  • Free agent big man Isaiah Hartenstein is receiving some interest from the Nuggets, a league source tells Kelly Iko of The Athletic (Twitter link). Denver just lost backup center Mason Plumlee and appears to be in the market for some frontcourt depth.

And-Ones: Cousins, Cap Projections, Two-Way Players, Hard Cap

DeMarcus Cousins is still recovering from the torn ACL in his left knee and may not be ready to play when the 2020/21 season begins in December, Austin Kent of SLAM reports. Cousins missed all of last season after suffering the injury during a summer workout. Cousins’ agent Jeff Schwartz told Kent that his client is focused on returning at full strength. Cousins, who is an unrestricted free agent, received offers prior to the restart but chose to continue his rehab.

We have more news from around the basketball world:

  • The Knicks are in the best position in terms of cap space next offseason, Danny Leroux of The Athletic notes. Depending upon what they do this offseason, New York might have enough room for two max players. The Spurs, Hornets, Hawks and Heat could also be in good position to sign a max player. Leroux breaks down every team’s cap situation and what kind of spending power they might have in 2021.
  • There’s a good chance that two-way players will be able to remain with their NBA teams for more than 45 days during the upcoming season, Marc Stein of the New York Times tweets. With a condensed offseason as well as coronavirus concerns, team executives are seeking more roster flexibility, Stein adds.
  • With a flat luxury-tax line and hard cap, several teams will be forced into hard decisions in the coming weeks, Bobby Marks of ESPN notes. The hard cap of $138.9MM could force the Lakers to decide between trying to re-sign Rajon Rondo and spending their $9.3MM mid-level exception on another free agent, Marks notes. The hard cap figure could also force the Bucks to waive Ersan Ilyasova, who has a non-guaranteed $7MM contract, Marks adds.

DeMarcus Cousins Expected To Aim For 2020/21 Return

11:55am: Cousins hasn’t entirely ruled out the possibility of signing with a team for the restart, agent Jeff Schwartz tells Tania Ganguli of The Los Angeles Times. It would have to be in a situation where he feels comfortable playing instead of continuing his rehab, Ganguli adds.

10:36am: Free agent center DeMarcus Cousins has been the subject of much speculation leading up to the NBA’s restart in Orlando, but Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link) hears that Cousins is expected to sit out the summer and continue rehabbing his knee in preparation for a full return in 2020/21.

Cousins, who tore his ACL last August, remained on the Lakers‘ roster for much of the 2019/20 season and was only waived in February when the club needed to open a spot to sign Markieff Morris. A subsequent report indicated that Cousins and L.A. would have interest in a new deal in the offseason.

Once play was suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic, there was speculation that the door might be open for Cousins to join the Lakers – or another team – to finish the season. However, it sounds like that won’t be the case, despite multiple teams expressing interest in the four-time All-Star, per Charania.

It makes sense for Cousins – who will turn 30 in August – to play it safe with his recovery. The big man previously suffered a torn Achilles tendon in 2018 and a torn quad in the spring of 2019, making the ACL tear his third major leg injury in a two-year period. Plus, even if he were feeling healthy enough to play this summer, it’s not clear how much he’d be able to contribute, joining and adjusting to a new team with the playoffs about to begin.

The Lakers and Wizards figure to be among the teams that express interest in Cousins during the offseason this fall.

Wizards Look To Sign Bertans Replacement

The Wizards plan to add a player to replace forward Davis Bertans on the roster when the season resumes in Orlando, Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington reports.

Bertans, an unrestricted free agent after the season, has decided not to suit up during the restart. Washington will look for a player who could prove useful in Orlando and thus have ruled out DeMarcus Cousins, who tore his ACL in August and was waived by the Lakers in February. Cousins is still rehabbing the injury.

The Wizards won’t necessarily sign a stretch four to fortify that spot. They could sign a 3-point shooter at another position, Hughes continues. Rookie Rui Hachimura will see his offensive role expands in Bertans’ absence, Hughes adds.

Bertans’ agent, Arturs Kalnitis, told Alex Kennedy of Hoops Hype that Bertans reached his decision in recent days.

“To be completely honest, Davis was prepared to play and then he made a last-minute decision to sit out,” Kalnitis said. “We’re playing the cards that we were dealt. When the NBA announced that players who sit out wouldn’t face consequences and would just lose one percent of their salary for each game missed, we sat down to discuss this. Davis is about to sign the biggest deal of his life, so he would be taking a big risk by playing.”

Bertans has battled ACL injuries during his career but Kalnitis said the possibility of injury after a long layoff was just one of the factors that led to his client’s decision.

“The injury risk played a role in Davis’ decision, but it wasn’t the only factor,” Kalnitis told Kennecdy. “I haven’t mentioned this before, but Davis has an insurance policy that kicked in at the start of the season so if he gets injured, he has a big, fat check coming his way. So, it wasn’t just the injury risk.”

Community Shootaround: DeMarcus Cousins

Several recognizable names will be looking to return to the NBA during the week-long transactions window that begins Tuesday, but the most intriguing is former All-Star center DeMarcus Cousins.

Cousins signed a one-year deal with the Lakers last summer to add some veteran depth to the frontcourt. However, he suffered a torn ACL in his left knee during preseason and was never able to suit up in L.A. He was waived in February to open a roster spot for Markieff Morris, but continued to rehab the knee at the team’s training facility and has maintained a good relationship with the organization.

Both sides reportedly have interest in a new contract next season, but the Lakers may have some competition if they want to bring him to Orlando. Former Kentucky teammate John Wall said this week, “I want to sign him right now” to help the Wizards with their playoff push. Center has been a position of need in Washington all season, and although Cousins’ mobility on defense is in question after three straight injury-ravaged seasons, he could be another potent weapon in the Wizards’ offense.

John Hollinger of The Athletic identifies three other teams where Cousins could be a good fit: the Celtics, the Spurs, who won’t have LaMarcus Aldridge in Orlando because of shoulder surgery, and the Mavericks, who have an opening for a big man with Dwight Powell sidelined with a torn Achilles.

Cousins, who’s only 29, obviously isn’t the player he was before the injuries hit, but he proved last year with Golden State that he can still be effective. He averaged 16.3 PPG in 30 regular-season games before settling for a reduced role in the playoffs.

We want to get your opinion on Cousins. Which team do you think will provide him the best opportunity, or do you believe he should continue rehabbing and wait for next season? Please leave your responses in the space below.

John Wall Talks Restart, Cousins, Olympics, More

Wizards guard John Wall believes Kyrie Irving has raised some reasonable concerns as NBA players weigh the league’s restart plan this summer. Appearing on The Tuff Juice Podcast with Caron Butler, Wall suggested that he’d have reservations about playing in Orlando even if he were healthy enough to do so.

“For me, if I was playing, I wouldn’t want to go to it, to be honest,” Wall said, per Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington. “I just don’t feel like it’s safe. I just don’t feel like it is. I understand why they want to do it and what they’re trying to get to, but I wouldn’t want to.”

The Wizards are currently 5.5 games back of a playoff spot and would only force a play-in tournament if they can pull to within four games of either the Magic or the Nets. Even then, Washington would have to win two consecutive games in a play-in tournament in order to claim the No. 8 seed, which Wall seemed to acknowledge will be an uphill battle.

“If I was healthy enough to play, I wouldn’t want to go play,” he said, according to Hughes. “What am I going, just to play eight games? I’m not going for just eight games and then coming back home.”

While it may be somewhat cynical to point out, it’s worth noting that players like Irving and Wall might be more comfortable taking a stand on the issue when injuries will rule them out anyway. If they were fully healthy, it’s possible they’d feel extra pressure not to let down teammates by sitting out.

Here’s more from Wall:

  • In an Instagram Live interview with Marc Spears of The Undefeated on Wednesday, Wall said he’s still encouraging the Wizards to sign his good friend and former Kentucky teammate DeMarcus Cousins. “Oh man, you know I’m trying to push for that,” Wall said (hat tip to Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington). “I’ve been on that for like five years. I want to sign him right now.”
  • Wall said that he and GM Tommy Sheppard have discussed the possibility of signing Cousins “here and there,” admitting that it might make sense for the big man to wait until next year to return — like Wall is doing. Cousins is recovering from a torn ACL.
  • During that same interview with Spears, Wall said that he’d like to play for Team USA in the Tokyo Olympics next summer, and has conveyed his interest to USA Basketball (Twitter link via Hughes). The Wizards’ point guard wasn’t one of 44 preliminary Team USA finalists announced in February, but could become a more viable candidate now that the event has been pushed back a year.
  • Wall also discussed the Black Lives Matter movement and other social-justice issues in an interesting conversation with Fred Katz of The Athletic.

NBA Plans To Launch Players-Only 2K Tournament

12:07pm: The Boardroom has provided a full list of the 16 participants in the tournament, along with the first-round matchups (Twitter link). Devin Booker (Suns), Trae Young (Hawks), and Zach LaVine (Bulls) are among the other stars set to take part in the event.

11:19am: With no NBA games expected to happen on the court anytime soon, the league is setting up a virtual tournament in an attempt to sate fans’ appetite for basketball, reports Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports.

According to Haynes, the league intends to launch an NBA 2K tournament that will feature NBA players competing against one another. The goal is to begin the 10-day event this Friday, though the league is still working out and finalizing the details, sources tell Haynes. The tournament would be broadcast on ESPN.

Nets star Kevin Durant, Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell, Cavaliers center Andre Drummond, and free agent big man DeMarcus Cousins are among the 16 players expected to participate, per Haynes.

Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel had previously tweeted that Trail Blazers center Hassan Whiteside and Heat swingman Derrick Jones were among the players set to play in an NBA 2K20 Players Tournament in April. That info appears to be based on an announcement from the NBPA, which was quickly deleted. Jeff Garcia of Spurs Zone (via Twitter) shares the full list of participants the NBPA identified in that premature release.

According to Winderman, the tournament is expected to have a $100K prize for charity.