The Lakers will open up a roster spot, but DeMarcus Cousins probably isn’t going to fill it.
Los Angeles is expected to waive guard Quinn Cook before his contract becomes guaranteed for the rest of the 2020-21 season, which will allow the front office to scour the buyout and trade markets. The Rockets officially waived Cousins on Tuesday, and given that he was a member of the Lakers for part of last season, naturally he emerged as a possible candidate to join the team.
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While the Lakers plan to examine frontcourt options, a reunion between Cousins and LA is unlikely, according to Dan Woike and Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times. The Lakers could use additional size with Anthony Davis out for an extended period, but apparently they don’t view Cousins as the kind of player they need.
One big man who the Lakers may be targeting, per Woike and Turner: Hassan Whiteside. The Kings center is averaging just 14.6 minutes per game for a Sacramento team sitting 12th in the Western Conference standings. Whiteside has his flaws, but he is more of a deterrent at the rim than Cousins if that’s what Los Angeles values.
For now, the Lakers will roll with Marc Gasol as their only true center and Montrezl Harrell operating as his backup. The current roster construction leaves LA at a disadvantage on the glass — the Lakers have been out-rebounded in consecutive losses to Brooklyn, Miami and Washington — but LeBron James and Co. will have to figure things out until Davis is back to 100 percent.
There is no reason to panic about the Lakers because they are still the defending champs and just 3.5 games out of first place in the West with 40 games left in the regular season. But it will be worth monitoring how they handle Davis’ absence in the short term and whether the sense of urgency to make an acquisition increases as they chase back-to-back titles.