DeMarcus Cousins is an unrestricted free agent this year and in desperate need of a career rejuvenation. Last season he played for the Houston Rockets and Los Angeles Clippers on a one-year deal with the hope of proving himself to other potential suitors. Whether or not he ended up doing that is debatable, though he did have at least one memorable moment.
Cousins averaged 8.9 points and 6.4 rebounds in 17.4 minutes per game last season between the Rockets and Clippers. When Houston was without Christian Wood and he was forced to step in, the 31-year-old was particularly strong.
All that being said – Cousins is a long ways away from being the guy who looked like the league’s best big in 2016. That season he averaged 28 points and 11 rebounds per game for the Sacramento Kings, showcasing the sort of skill set that injuries have robbed him of in recent years.
So what’s next for Cousins?
As noted by NBA analyst Kenneth Teape, three teams seem to be the most legit suitors for his services at the moment. Those teams: the Miami Heat, Brooklyn Nets and Los Angeles Lakers.
In the case of the Heat, the value proposition is obvious: adding some additional depth in the front court.
“The Heat have Dewayne Dedmond and Omer Yurtseven, but there can be room made for Cousins,” Teape noted. “He showed with the Clippers he doesn’t need many minutes to make an impact and would provide some floor spacing and scoring the other centers on the roster can’t.”
For the Nets, this would be about mitigating some of the fallout from DeAndre Jordan’s inevitable exit.
“Without Jordan, the Nets’ depth chart at the center spot is Nicolas Claxton and Day’Ron Sharpe with Blake Griffin and Johnson providing spot minutes,” he continued. “That needs to change and DeMarcus Cousins would help. Cousins has some experience playing with both Durant and Harden, which would make the transition a little easier. He wouldn’t be relied upon to play heavy minutes for the Nets, but he would still produce even playing 8-14 minutes per game.”
Along the same lines, the relationship between Marc Gasol and the Lakers is very tenuous. Clearly the organization is exploring its options.
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“If Gasol is moved, the Lakers will need another big man to fill his spot on the roster,” he wrote. “Dwight Howard would be the only true center left, with Anthony Davis capable of playing some minutes there. It would be great to see a healthy DeMarcus Cousins finally suit up in the purple and gold. Cousins would be the sixth player making his return to the Lakers organization this offseason. Kent Bazemore, Trevor Ariza, Wayne Ellington, Rajon Rondo, and Howard are all back for at least their second go-round with the franchise.”
When he’s not beefing with his teammates or starring in disturbing leaked audio clips, Cousins serves as a fascinating pick-up. It remains to be seen whether anyone will actually take a chance on him at this juncture, but given what we’ve seen out of the league in recent years, it’s hard to envision someone not giving him an opportunity.
Who will that someone be? Time will tell.
A longtime sports reporter, Carlos Garcia has written about some of the biggest and most notable athletic events of the last 5 years. He has been credentialed to cover MLS, NBA and MLB games all over the United States. His work has been published on Fox Sports, Bleacher Report, AOL and the Washington Post.