With NBA free agency fast approaching, the Los Angeles Lakers are manning the turrets as they prepare to make a major splash in free agency.
With the likes of major names such as Paul George, LeBron James and Kawhi Leonard all linked to the Lakers this offseason, LA's front office will be extremely busy making phone calls and meeting with agents. On top of trying to bring in All-Star level talent, the Lakers will also be hoping to retain some of the young core they've built over the past several seasons, with Julius Randle hitting free agency this summer.
Even though many Laker fans are hoping Magic Johnson and Rob Pelinka are able to sign everyone under the sun and form a superteam for next season, the more realistic view is that LA are bound to miss out on one or two high-profile names in July.
But according to Shams Charania, who appeared on the Yahoo Sports NBA Podcast with Chris Mannix, the Lakers have a backup plan if things fall through with LeBron and PG, and his name is DeMarcus Cousins.
“I think it’s going to be tough to gauge his market before July 1, it might take a little bit of time to develop. Teams like the Lakers, the Mavericks. The Mavericks are going to need to wait until the draft, first of all, to see if they’re going to draft a big and that’s going to take them out of contention. But the Lakers, the Mavericks, there are only a handful of teams with real salary cap space to use this summer. The Lakers probably have other players in mind before they would turn to someone like DeMarcus on a one or two-year deal at a really high number.”
Cousins is also a major name hitting free agency this offseason, but has flown under the radar compared to other All-Star names after suffering an achilles injury that ended his 2017-18 season early, and has cast doubts over his basketball talent in the near future.
Pre-injury, Cousins was easily one of the best, if not the best center in basketball, finishing last season early with averages of 25.2 points and 12.9 rebounds per game. But due to his injury -- an injury mind you that has completely ruined the backend of player's careers, most notably Kobe Bryant's -- the offers he'll be receiving this summer will definitely be on the low end of what DeMarcus may have been expecting before last season began.
If no other team is willing to take a risk on the recovering All-Star, the Lakers may be in with a shot of signing Cousins to short-term deal to prove he's as dominant as he was before tearing his achilles.