DeMarcus Cousins couldn’t find a home at the beginning of the 2022-23 NBA season, but that may soon change.
A number of injuries to prominent big men around the league had created a need for a serviceable, proven veteran.
Cousins, 32, has become the ideal plug-and-play center under precisely those circumstances. And his recent body transformation only boosts his stock further.
Last season with the Denver Nuggets he participated in 31 games, played in roughly 14 minutes per outing, and averaged 8.9 points on 45.6 percent shooting from the field and 32.4 percent shooting from beyond the arc.
In addition, Cousins also chipped in 5.5 rebounds per game.
So who is in the hunt for his services in 2023? Three teams have quietly emerged: the Los Angeles Lakers, Boston Celtics and Detroit Pistons.
According to multiple reports, L.A. has already scheduled a workout for Cousins in light of Anthony Davis’ slow recovery. A recent update from ESPN NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski confirmed that the 29-year-old isn’t returning any time soon, and some reports suggest he could be out as long as 8 months.
“[Cousins] has been working out six days a week in Las Vegas,” Chris Haynes of Bleacher Report noted.
“The free-agent center hopes to impress a Lakers franchise in evaluation mode. As of Jan. 5, teams are now allowed to sign players to 10-day contracts.”
If not Los Angeles, the Celtics have also been linked to Cousins.
“Cousins has experience being a role player on an elite team (he played 30 regular season games and eight NBA Playoff games for the 2019 Golden State Warriors),” a recent Sports Illustrated column argued.
“The Celtics have such a talented roster that they would not need to rely on Cousins. Instead, they could use him in specific games, making them more dangerous heading into the NBA Playoffs.”
Finally, don’t sleep on the Pistons. With Marvin Bagley III out and Nerlens Noel being his usual Nerlens Noel self, Detroit is really lacking in the middle.
Isaiah Stewart and Jalen Duren are obviously doing what they can, but there is only so long Dwane Casey can force a bunch of non-bigs to play as bigs in his tight nine-man rotation.
Something’s got to give on that front.
Instead of talking about Skip Bayless, let’s talk about the Bills hero who saved Damar Hamlin’s life. https://t.co/rEmnY5xQOV
— Game 7 (@game7__) January 5, 2023
Obviously Cousins’ tendency to rub people the wrong way is a red flag. He literally can’t stop doing it. He did it again just a couple of weeks ago.
But he is also a proven talent who plays a position that multiple squads need to fill right now.
What team will Cousins ultimately end up with this season? One way or another, an answer should emerge over the next few weeks.