DeMarcus Cousins

Celtics Notes: Backup Center, Mykhailiuk, Brogdon, Free Agents

The Celtics completed their search for another wing by signing Svi Mykhailiuk this week, so the next priority should be finding a capable big man to provide depth in the frontcourt, writes Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe. Boston now has 14 players with standard contracts, one short of the regular season roster limit. Only 11 of those are guaranteed, although Mykhailiuk could become the 12th once the details of his new deal are reported.

Robert Williams and Al Horford will handle most of the minutes at center, but Williams’ injury history and Horford’s age create a need for a quality backup at the position. Washburn suggests Kristaps Porzingis could see some time in the middle, but he’s more effective at power forward and is more comfortable playing away from the basket. Luke Kornet will be in camp, but his contract is non-guaranteed until the league-wide guarantee date of January 10.

Washburn identifies Bismack Biyombo and Dewayne Dedmon as available free agents, but states that neither is significantly better than Blake Griffin, who played for the Celtics last season and has expressed an interest in returning. Washburn also mentions former All-Stars Dwight Howard and DeMarcus Cousins, but says the organization doesn’t want to risk team chemistry by bringing in someone who’s unhappy with his role.

There’s more on the Celtics:

  • Mykhailiuk’s success against Boston may have sparked the organization’s interest, even though he wasn’t among the players who held workouts last month. Playing for the Knicks and Hornets last season, the 26-year-old swingman hit 24 three-pointers against the Celtics, the most of any opponent, according to Luke Scotchie of The Boston Globe. Overall, Mykhailiuk enjoyed the best shooting season of his career from long distance, connecting at 42.4% and making 1.3 per game.
  • There has been little news about Malcolm Brogdon since he was nearly sent to the Clippers in June in a deal for Porzingis, Brian Robb of MassLive notes in a mailbag column. The team hasn’t provided any updates on Brogdon’s health after he reportedly suffered a torn tendon in his right elbow in the Eastern Conference Finals. Playing again should help resolve any bitterness Brogdon might have over the trade situation, Robb states, but he may be less willing to sacrifice for the organization after nearly being moved.
  • The Celtics still may have interest in T.J. Warren and Lamar Stevens after bringing them in for tryouts, but they shouldn’t offer more than a partially guaranteed deal to either of them, Robb adds in the same piece.

And-Ones: Team USA, Contracts, EuroBasket Qualifiers, BIG3

Team USA got revenge on the Select Team during Saturday’s scrimmage, according to Joe Vardon of The Athletic, who writes that the senior team won 84-61 after three periods, which were 10 minutes each.

As Vardon notes, Jalen Brunson, Mikal Bridges, Brandon Ingram and Jaren Jackson Jr. started both days for Team USA. On Friday, Cameron Johnson was the fifth starter, while Anthony Edwards received the nod on Saturday.

Given that the team performed much better yesterday, it seems like Edwards might have the edge for a starting nod, though head coach Steve Kerr still isn’t ready to commit to anything.

Despite what he’s said publicly in terms of the lineup, it’s clear that Kerr has a major role in mind for Brunson, per Tim Bontemps of ESPN.

I think Jalen is such a natural leader,” Kerr said. “Because he’s a point guard, he immediately comes to mind. He’s the one who’s leading the ‘1, 2, 3 USA’ chant. Some guys just, it just comes naturally to them.”

With the Select Team heading home and the Americans having a non-contact practice on Sunday, the next test for Team USA as it prepares for the 2023 World Cup will come during Monday’s exhibition game against Puerto Rico, Vardon adds.

Here’s more from around the basketball world:

  • Which NBA players have benefited the most from the salary cap rising 10% each of the past two years? ESPN’s Bobby Marks provides a chart (via Twitter) of salary comparisons over the past four league years, and notes the highest earners have actually received the biggest bump in terms of relative volume.
  • The 32-nation qualifying field for the 2025 EuroBasket tournament has been set, as Ennio Terrasi Borghesan of Sportando relays. The qualifiers will take place over three different windows between February 2024 and February 2025.
  • BIG3 co-founder Ice Cube has a handful of former NBA veterans on his wish list, including DeMarcus Cousins, Isaiah Thomas, Dwight Howard and Jamal Crawford, he tells Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe (subscriber link). The 12-team 3-on-3 league started at the end of June and runs through August 26, with the championship held in London, England.

DeMarcus Cousins To Play In Puerto Rico

Free agent center DeMarcus Cousins has agreed to sign with the Guaynabo Mets, a team in the Puerto Rican league, sources tell Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter link).

As Wojnarowski explains, Cousins is still hoping to return to the NBA, but will spend the spring in Puero Rico in the hopes of showing that he still has plenty left in the tank. He reportedly turned down overtures from Taiwanese teams in the fall.

A four-time All-Star, Cousins has career averages of 19.6 points and 10.2 rebounds per game, but has been slowed in recent years by a series of leg injuries. He has bounced around the NBA during that time, playing for multiple teams in 2020/21 and again in ’21/22. The big man hasn’t been on a roster at all this season, despite working out for the Lakers in January.

Cousins, 32, averaged 9.0 PPG and 5.6 RPG in 48 appearances (15.0 MPG) last season for the Nuggets and Bucks and said in the fall that he believes he still has plenty to contribute to an NBA team. He stated more recently that he has had trouble getting a “real answer” for why he has remained unsigned all season.

The regular season schedule for Puerto Rico’s Baloncesto Superior Nacional ends in June and last year’s playoffs concluded in August, so Cousins would be able to finish the season with the Mets even if he gets an invite to an NBA training camp. He’ll have some work to do to help get his new team out of an early-season hole — the Mets are just 1-8 so far this spring.

And-Ones: Silver, Jordan, MVP Race, Cousins

In addition to addressing the state of the CBA negotiations between the NBA and NBPA during his press conference on Wednesday, commissioner Adam Silver spoke about several other topics, including  rumors that he could replace Bob Iger as Disney’s CEO (“I have no intention of going anywhere,” Silver said) and his meeting earlier this month with Grizzlies guard Ja Morant.

As Tim Bontemps of ESPN relays, Silver also discussed the reports stating that Michael Jordan is in talks to sell a stake in the Hornets, explaining that Jordan expects to still be very much involved in the NBA even if he’s no longer the majority owner in Charlotte.

“One thing Michael has told me is that whether or not that transaction gets done, he will remain governor in the league, technically maybe the alternate governor instead of the governor, so he’ll still stay very involved,” Silver said. “He’d still continue to have an interest in the league.

“I recognize that over time, people’s interests move on to other areas. He’s not living in the market right now, etc. So, completely understandable. But the good news is, I think regardless of his ownership status, he will remain part and parcel of everything that this league continues to do. I have no doubt about that.”

Here are more odds and ends from around the basketball world:

  • The 2023 MVP race is tighter than ever in the season’s home stretch, according to the third and final straw poll conducted by Tim Bontemps of ESPN. The 100 media members who submitted five-man ballots to Bontemps picked Sixers center Joel Embiid over Nuggets center Nikola Jokic by a grand total of two points (790 to 788). Jokic actually received more first-place votes (42) than Embiid (40), while Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo was also very much in the mix, with the remaining 18 first-place votes and 612 total points.
  • Asked during an appearance on SiriusXM NBA Radio (Twitter audio link) if he has received feedback from NBA teams about why he’s not in the league, free agent center DeMarcus Cousins said he hasn’t gotten a real explanation. “I’ve asked many questions. I’ve reached out to former teams,” Cousins said. “I kind of get sugar-coated answers. I can never really get the raw, honest truth. I’ve struggled with that as well. I would love to get a real answer.”
  • In an Insider-only article for, Kevin Pelton considers the effect a minimum games-played requirement would have on All-NBA voting, noting that players who have earned All-NBA honors while playing fewer than 58 games have often been among the league’s biggest superstars.

Latest On Ja Morant

Grizzlies guard Ja Morant has deactivated his Twitter and Instagram pages following an incident late Friday night that led to his decision to “take some time away” from the team, writes Damichael Cole of The Memphis Commercial Appeal.

Morant created a firestorm around the NBA when he posted an Instagram Live video (Twitter link) to his personal account around 4:19 a.m., roughly four hours after the end of Friday’s game in Denver. The video, which appeared to show Morant displaying a gun at a strip club, has sparked an investigation by the league.

Cole points out that Morant is typically active on social media and uses both platforms to post personal messages and promote his business interests. Morant recently became Powerade’s first athletic partnership in more than five years and he has a Nike Ja 1 sneaker that’s set to be released in April.

There’s more on the Morant situation:

  • Morant finally crossed a line that the Grizzlies couldn’t ignore, observes Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated. Mannix states that the team had been “wishy washy” in its response when Morant was allegedly involved in a confrontation with members of the Pacers’ traveling party in January and when he reportedly punched a teen during a pickup game at his house last July. Mannix adds that the Grizzlies are dealing with Morant like a small-market team that’s afraid of alienating its star.
  • Morant needs to take control of the people he surrounds himself with and the places he goes, ABC’s Jalen Rose said on tonight’s “NBA Countdown” (video link). “I’m glad in his statement that he owned that I need to make changes for me,” Rose said, “because as the leader, as the breadwinner, you control the environment. The people that are around you, you select.”
  • DeMarcus Cousins, who has been hoping to get signed by an NBA team all season, calls Morant and the Grizzlies an example of what can go wrong without veteran leadership. “Hope this shows the importance of REAL VETS in the locker room,” Cousins tweeted. “No young team should be without multiple veterans on the roster.”
  • Nike is standing by Morant amid the controversy, per Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link). The company released a statement that reads, “We appreciate Ja’s accountability and that he is taking the time to get the help he needs. We support his prioritization of his well-being.”

Lakers Notes: Cousins, Leonard, Brown, Davis, Reaves, Walker

DeMarcus Cousins and Meyers Leonard were impressive during workouts with the Lakers, coach Darvin Ham told reporters, including Dave McMenamin of ESPN, after Saturday’s practice. Both free agent centers auditioned Friday for L.A., which is seeking frontcourt help with Anthony Davis sidelined by a foot injury.

“They both looked great,” Ham said. “Whether or not we’re able to do something with them is a different story. But we’re constantly trying to kick the tires on different scenarios.”

Cousins, a four-time All-Star, is hoping for another NBA opportunity at age 32 after playing for the Bucks and Nuggets last season. McMenamin notes that Cousins signed with the Lakers as a free agent in 2019, but an injury suffered during that summer prevented him from playing. Even though he was waived in February of that season, he remained close to the team and received a championship ring when L.A. won the title.

Leonard, 30, is hoping to revive his career after being out of the league since 2021 due to injuries and the fallout from an antisemitic slur. During that time, he has been rehabbing after shoulder and ankle surgeries, according to McMenamin, and working to repair his reputation.

There’s more on the Lakers:

  • Sterling Brown‘s 10-day contract will expire Sunday night, and Ham was noncommittal when asked if the team plans to keep him on the roster, McMenamin adds. Brown, who also played for Ham when he was an assistant coach with the Bucks, has gone scoreless in four games with L.A. while averaging 2.0 rebounds and 0.8 steals in 6.0 minutes per night. “It depends on our health status and what we feel comfortable doing and making as a next step,” Ham said. The Lakers currently have a full roster and would need to open up a spot before they could sign Cousins or Leonard.
  • Davis, who has been out of action since December 16, did some on-court work during today’s practice, tweets Kyle Goon of The Orange County Register. Ham said Davis is “trending in the right direction.”
  • Austin Reaves, who’s dealing with a strained left hamstring, was able to do individual drills at practice today, tweets Dan Woike of The Los Angeles Times. Ham said Lonnie Walker is making progress toward returning from left knee tendinitis. Both players are projected to have their conditions reevaluated sometime this week.

L.A. Notes: Pistons, Cousins, Lakers Frontcourt, Clippers

The Lakers have long been linked to forward Bojan Bogdanovic — back when he was still on Utah and in the months since he was traded to Detroit. In an article about potential deadline buyers and sellers with Chris Mannix, Howard Beck of Sports Illustrated hears that the Lakers and Pistons “have discussed a deal that would include both Bogdanovic and Nerlens Noel.”

Rumors last month indicated that the Lakers offered Patrick Beverley, Kendrick Nunn and a protected first-round pick for Bogdanovic, but this is the first time we’ve seen them linked to Noel this season. Adding his $9.24MM salary to that framework complicates a trade from a salary-matching perspective — the Lakers would have to add three players on minimum salaries.

Replacing Beverley and Nunn with Russell Westbrook‘s $47.1MM expiring deal would mean the Pistons would have to add more salary, so more players would have to be involved in either scenario.

Here’s more out of Los Angeles:

  • DeMarcus Cousinsaudition for the Lakers is scheduled for today, tweets Chris Haynes of Bleacher Report. In case you missed it, the Lakers are also working out Meyers Leonard today. Both big men are unrestricted free agents.
  • LeBron James said earlier this week that he believes a frontcourt with himself, Anthony Davis and Thomas Bryant “could be extremely beneficial for our ballclub.” Head coach Darvin Ham agreed that it was worth looking into, according to Jovan Buha of The Athletic (Twitter link). “They’re all highly skilled players. … They can all score at all three levels. They can defend. They all can have good activity, good instincts. So, yeah, that’s something we’ll definitely take a look at,” Ham said.
  • In an appearance on ESPN’s NBA Today, Richard Jefferson said there might be some interference from the Clippers‘ front office when it comes to coaching decisions. “This is pure speculation… I’m hearing grumblings that people up top are having opinions about who should be playing… There’s a lot of cooks in the kitchen and that is never a good recipe,” he said (Twitter video link via Talkin’ NBA). Ordinarily, I wouldn’t put much stock into something that Jefferson says is “pure speculation,” but he does have connections to the Clippers — he played under head coach Tyronn Lue with the Cavaliers and under president of basketball operations Lawrence Frank when Frank coached the Nets.
  • Lue told reporters, including Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN (Twitter video link), that Paul George (hamstring) and Luke Kennard (calf) would not practice with the Clippers on Thursday, but both players were working out and shooting prior to practice. George has been ruled out for Friday’s contest against Denver and Kennard seems unlikely to suit up.

DeMarcus Cousins To Work Out For Lakers

The Lakers will bring in former All-Star center DeMarcus Cousins for a workout sometime next week, sources tell Chris Haynes 0f Bleacher Report.

Cousins, who spent time with the Bucks and Nuggets last season, has been working out six days a week in Las Vegas in hopes of returning to the NBA, according to Haynes. He reportedly turned down a chance to play in Taiwan in late November.

The Lakers have been hoping to add a veteran big man to their roster, and that interest has increased in the wake of Anthony Davisfoot injury. Now that teams are permitted to sign players to 10-day contracts, that’s likely to be an avenue for Cousins to come to L.A. if he’s impressive in his workout.

Cousins signed with Milwaukee in November of last season, but he was waived in January before his contract became guaranteed. He inked three 10-day contracts with Denver before being signed for the rest of the season and averaged 8.9 points and 5.5 rebounds in 31 games as the primary backup for Nikola Jokic.

Davis continues to make progress toward a return, Haynes reports in the same story. According to Haynes’ sources, Davis plans to test the condition of his foot in an individual workout in a few days. He’s been suffering minimal pain as he goes through rehab, the sources add.

Davis hasn’t played since December 16, but the Lakers have managed to stay in the race for a play-in berth. They’re currently 12th in the West at 17-21, just a game-and-a-half away from 10th place. Thomas Bryant has been a capable replacement while Davis is out, and the addition of Cousins would provide even more depth in the middle.

The Lakers also held a workout Thursday with free agent shooting guard Tyler Dorsey, who was recently waived by the Mavericks, tweets Krysten Peek of Yahoo Sports. General Manager Rob Pelinka and head coach Darvin Ham both attended the session to watch Dorsey, according to Peek.

Lakers Notes: Davis Injury, LeBron, Westbrook

The Lakers haven’t issued an official statement on the status of Anthony Davis, but a weekend report indicating he will miss at least a month with an injured right foot could alter the course of their season and their approach to the trade deadline, writes Jovan Buha of The Athletic.

Specialists were still evaluating Davis as of Sunday night, and coach Darvin Ham suggested the team may release more information on the injury on Monday. L.A. is 12th in the West at 13-16 and is entering a tough part of the schedule with seven of its next eight games on the road.

Davis’ injury and how it might affect management’s approach to upgrading the roster were among the topics at Sunday’s post-game press conference.

“Not a question for me,” LeBron James said. “I have no idea. When I’m playing, I show up, prepare, go to work and get my guys ready to go win a basketball game. I play the game, I’m not in the front office, so we’ll see. But I’m focused on the game and us trying to win basketball games, especially when I’m out on the floor.”

As James left the media session, Buha adds, he told a reporter, “Go ask (general manager) Rob (Pelinka) those questions.”

There’s more from Los Angeles:

  • The Lakers are already facing inflated prices on the trade market as rival teams understand they’re under pressure to make a deal, reports Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report. As an example, he states that the Jazz asked L.A. for a first-round pick in exchange for Bojan Bogdanovic before the season began, but ultimately traded him to Detroit without getting a first-rounder in return. Pincus notes that the Lakers were “conflicted internally” about risking their future on any trade that didn’t make them an obvious contender, even before the Davis injury. If Davis is lost for an extended stretch, Pincus suggests L.A. might focus on smaller moves such as adding a free agent center (maybe DeMarcus Cousins) and seeing what it can get for Patrick Beverley, Kendrick Nunn and second-round picks.
  • James’ situation is unprecedented for a player of his age and talent, per Howard Beck of Sports Illustrated. Although he’s still performing at an all-NBA level as he nears his 38th birthday, James faces the prospect of another non-playoff season.
  • While Davis is sidelined, James will likely see some time at center, which was effective last season, according to Kyle Goon of The Orange County Register. There will also be an increased focus on James’ pairing with Russell Westbrook, as Goon notes that with Westbrook’s move to a reserve role they have shared the court for just 17.2 minutes per game this season.

Anthony, Cousins, Thomas Uninterested In Taiwan League

It doesn’t appear than any other big-name veterans free agents are seriously considering signing with a Taiwanese team, Marc Stein reports in a Substack post.

Dwight Howard signed with Taoyuan Leopards earlier this month, though he’s currently sidelined with a knee injury.

However, three other former All-Stars who have reportedly drawn interest from Taiwanese teams — Carmelo Anthony, DeMarcus Cousins and Isaiah Thomas — have shown no interest in playing there. The trio continue to wait for another NBA opportunity, regardless of any overseas interest, per Stein.

In terms of Cousins, it rebukes a report that he would soon sign with a team in the Taiwan league. Another report a couple of weeks back stated the Tainan TSG GhostHawks were pursuing Anthony. Stein also wrote in a previous post that Taiwanese teams were targeting Thomas.

Among those players, Anthony would appear to have the best chance of eventually signing another NBA deal. He averaged 13.3 points per game last season for the Lakers, and Stein says the opportunity to play a 20th NBA season “holds considerable meaning” for him.