After a mutual decision was made for the Houston Rockets and DeMarcus Cousins to go their separate ways, the four-time All-Star will once again find himself back on the open market. With a veteran’s minimum contract of $2.3 million, Cousins is expected to receive interest from multiple teams. With Houston, he was averaging averaged 9.6 points and 7.6 rebounds per game.
According to reports, Cousins was not satisfied with his backup role behind Christian Wood. The Rockets were not interested in playing Wood and Cousins at the same time, forcing this decision to come to light.
With the news, we discuss three teams that could be potential suitors for Cousins during the 2021 season:
Los Angeles Lakers
Starting with the obvious, the Los Angeles Lakers and Cousins reportedly have a mutual interest in a reunion. After being recruited by Anthony Davis to join the team in 2019, Cousins remained sidelined with a torn ACL. He was eventually waived in February of 2020 to make room on the roster for an eventual NBA Championship run.
With Davis out for an extended period, the addition of Cousins makes sense. Despite contradicting reports about the Lakers’ interest, the team already waived Quinn Cook in order to clear a roster spot.
The issue with adding Cousins from Los Angeles’ perspective is finding a way to give him the right teammates on the floor. The team already contains a slower, yet defensive-first Marc Gasol in the starting lineup. As a backup, Cousins wouldn’t fit with someone like Montrezl Harrell, who is currently in the 98th percentile when it comes to offensive efficiency. There is the possibility of moving players around via trade, but there have been no concrete talks at this time.
Portland Trail Blazers
The Trail Blazers are lacking in health when it comes to the forward position, with Jusuf Nurkic, Zach Collins and Harry Giles all out currently with injuries. Despite having Enes Kanter on the roster, Portland defers to “small-ball” play when he goes to the bench. While both Kanter and Cousins lack in defensive efficiency, the team can get around those problems.
Prior to signing with the Golden State Warriors in 2018, the Trail Blazers showed interest in Cousins. They have taken on lost talents in the NBA in the past, with Carmelo Anthony being a prime example. This would be more of a short-term band-aid while the Trail Blazers attempt to re-gain their health, but it’s a match nonetheless.
Statistically, the Raptors would benefit from signing Cousins. When Aron Baynes or Alex Len are on the floor, Toronto has maintained a negative net rating. While the team remains interested in trading for Andre Drummond, they could give up far less in order to add Cousins.
The reprecussions of adding Cousins to their roster involve his defensive flaws. While Toronto is one of the more aggressive defenses across the league, the addition of Cousins wouldn’t exactly be a match for their current scheme. However, a diverse head coach such as Nick Nurse could find a way to get around that.