DeMarcus Cousins, who was released by the Rockets earlier this week, is one of several additions the Heat are considering for their frontcourt, a source tells Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald. Cousins is expected to clear waivers at 5 pm Eastern Time on Thursday, making him a free agent.
Jackson’s source identifies four other players Miami is targeting if they become available. That group includes Spurs forward Rudy Gay, Kings forward Nemanja Bjelica and Rockets forward P.J. Tucker, The Heat are also monitoring Pistons forward Blake Griffin, but they wouldn’t take on his contract, which includes a $38.96MM player option for next season, and will only try to sign him if he is released.
Jackson adds that Miami’s front office is doing “due diligence” on all those players and it’s not clear who the preference is.
The most intriguing option may be Cousins, a six-time All-Star who tried to revive his career in Houston after back-to-back Achilles and ACL injuries. He averaged 9.6 points, 7.6 rebounds and 2.3 assists in 25 games for the Rockets and was most effective as a backup. His lack of mobility became a more pronounced issue when he was moved into the starting lineup after an injury to Christian Wood.
Miami tried to sign Cousins in 2019, Jackson notes, but he opted for the Lakers. Cousins is also expected to consider the Raptors, Celtics and Warriors, according to Jackson.
Jackson believes Gay would be used in the same role as Jae Crowder, who left Miami to sign with the Suns in November. It’s not certain that San Antonio wants to part with Gay, who makes $14.5MM on an expiring contract, but Jackson notes that an offer of Kelly Olynyk would work under the cap, as would the combination of Avery Bradley and Meyers Leonard, who is out for the season after shoulder surgery.