DeMarcus Cousins

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.

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.

Lakers Notes: Davis, Cousins, Morris Twins, LeBron

Anthony Davis has experienced a few injury scares during his first season with the Lakers, including one Friday night, but he’s ending concerns about his ability to stay healthy, writes Mark Medina of USA Today. Davis missed almost an entire quarter after bumping knees Friday with Jaren Jackson Jr., but returned to finish off a 28-point, 13-rebound, seven-block performance.

Davis has appeared in 47 of L.A.’s 54 games so far, with the only extended absence being caused by a hard fall in early January that resulted in lower back soreness. It’s a welcome change for Lakers’ fans after Davis’ injury-filled history in New Orleans.

“As long as they tell me it’s nothing serious, I’ll go out there and play,” Davis said. “You don’t know until you check all the boxes. But anytime they tell me I’m cleared and it’s not going to hurt me to go out there and play, I’m going to try to go out there and play.”

There’s more Lakers news to pass along:

  • The Lakers plan to waive injured center DeMarcus Cousins today to open a roster spot for Markieff Morris, but Cousins will remain with the team while he rehabs his torn ACL, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic (video link from Stadium). Despite not playing, Cousins has been a valuable addition to the locker room, Charania adds, and the organization enjoys having him around.
  • With Markieff headed to the Lakers, twin brother Marcus Morris, now on the Clippers, envisions a scenario where they carpool to a potential playoff series, relays Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN. “We’re two competitive guys, that’s gonna be like really fun,” Marcus said. “Probably gonna ride to the game together. That don’t bother us, to have to go out there and compete — we’re pros, and both of us gonna go hard and both are gonna do the best we can do for our team.”
  • Coach Frank Vogel is looking forward to having the playoff version of LeBron James on his side after frequently watching him from the opposing bench, relays Joe Vardon of The Athletic. Vogel’s Pacers teams suffered three playoff losses to James when he was on the Heat, including twice in the Eastern Conference finals. “He knew everything we were running before we even called it out,” Vogel recalled. “He knew stuff was coming with his anticipation, and intelligence went into that. The determination of whatever it would take to beat us, that is what he was going to do.”

Texas Notes: J. Green, Carroll, Cousins, Doncic

Jeff Green looked right at home in his debut with the Rockets, writes Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle. In his first game since being waived by the Jazz on December 24, Green scored 17 points in 24 minutes as Houston won big Thursday night at Golden State.

“I just came ready to play,” he said. “I mean, I’m in shape, so I just tried to do whatever I needed to do to help the team win. I have a beautiful wife who allowed me to do what I needed to do and that’s all I need to say about that. I have great trainers at home and when I was home for this time, my wife allowed to me to really focus on what I needed to do.”

The Rockets are Green’s ninth NBA team since entering the league in 2007, making him one of seven active players to be with that many organizations, Feigen adds. Ish Smith is the active leader with 11 teams.

There’s more NBA news from the Lone Star State:

  • DeMarre Carroll, another new Rocket, had a disappointing stay with the Spurs, but his presence on the team will be missed, relays Tom Orsborn of The San Antonio Express News (Twitter link). “I’ve known DeMarre since college, we came in together, played with him in Toronto,” DeMar DeRozan said. “Just a great guy. It’s part of the league. Everyone comes and goes, but friendships and memories last forever.”  Carroll appeared in just 15 games after signing with the Spurs last summer.
  • The Mavericks might have been willing to gamble on DeMarcus Cousins, but they don’t want to part with anyone on their current roster, owner Mark Cuban tells Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News (Twitter link). The veteran center has missed the entire season with a torn ACL in his left knee, but recently offered hope that he might be ready for the playoffs. The Lakers plan to waive Cousins and add Markieff Morris once he clears waivers tomorrow. “We don’t have any roster spots,” Cuban said. “If we had a roster spot, we would probably do something, but we don’t. And there’s nobody we want to release.”
  • Mavericks star Luka Doncic sat out tonight’s game with a sore ankle, but coach Rick Carlisle doesn’t expect it to be a long-term issue, Townsend tweets.

Lakers To Waive DeMarcus Cousins

The Lakers will waive injured center DeMarcus Cousins to open up a roster spot, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Ramona Shelburne report (via Twitter).

The Lakers are planning to sign forward Markieff Morris, who was bought out by Detroit on Friday, assuming he clears waivers.

Cousins signed a one-year, $3.5MM contract to join another contender after spending an injury-plagued season with Golden State. Cousins suffered a torn ACL in his left knee in August but expressed hope this week that he could return for the postseason.

The front office opted to fortify the team’s frontcourt with versatile forward who’s healthy rather than attempt to integrate Cousins into the rotation during the playoffs.

The Lakers will likely wait until Sunday night, when Morris would clear waivers,  to officially part ways with Cousins, according to ESPN’s Bobby Marks. Cousins has approximately $1MM left on his contract and a claiming team would gain his non-Bird rights. The $1.75MM Disabled Player Exception the Lakers were awarded after Cousins’ injury can still be used before the March 10 expiration date (Twitter link).

DeMarcus Cousins Hopes To Join Lakers For Playoffs

DeMarcus Cousins continues to recover from a torn ACL in his left knee, but the big man hopes to return to the court to help Los Angeles in the playoffs.

“We got a big team. It’s going to be some bump, for sure,” Cousins said on Showtime’s “All the Smoke” (h/t Dave McMenamin of ESPN.com). “We got so many guys with different abilities. I mean, I can spot up. ‘Bron [LeBron James] is going to draw everybody whenever he decides to move. I’m pretty confident I can knock down the shot. We got shooters all over the floor. I mean, I can play-make. Like, it’s pick your poison.”

Cousins signed a one-year deal with the Lakers this offseason and hasn’t suited up for the club yet. Coach Frank Vogel isn’t closing the door on the center joining the rotation if healthy.

“There is no date, and there’s really no specifics on it in terms of, I’m not even sure where he’s at with exactly what he’s doing day to day. I just still know he’s a long way away, but they’ve said they’re not ruling out him returning. That’s really all I can give you,” Vogel said. “I just know he’s not close. As he starts getting close, it could be a review thing, because [the training staff will] come to me and let me know.”