The Los Angeles Lakers suffered a major blow following reports that Demarcus Cousins suffered a torn ACL during a workout in Las Vegas recently. So far, no timeline has been given on when the four-time NBA All-Star will undergo surgery, although the usual recovery period for a torn ACL is typically one year.
Shams Charania of The Athletic was the first to report on Cousins’ injury. This would, later on, be confirmed by the player’s agent to ESPN. The development adds to the injury woes of the 6-foot-11 big man, who also sat out most of the 2018-19 NBA season after rupturing his Achilles tendon.
When the Lakers were able to take in Cousins, most immediately saw the Lakers as one of the favored teams for the 2019-20 season. Along with Anthony Davis, someone who Boogie played alongside with for the New Orleans Pelicans during the 2017-18 NBA season, the purple and gold had one of the most vaunted frontlines, presumably making life easier for LeBron James.
Apparently, all that has changed now.
With Cousins out, the Lakers will need to find another big man to fill in the void. One player who Los Angeles may want to consider is Joakim Noah, especially to provide more depth at the center position. But there are several factors to consider, particularly the 34-year-old’s relationship with LeBron James.
If one goes back a bit, James and Noah have a history of hatred, the Chicago Sun-Times reported. Back in 2009, both players had a heated exchange with the 9th overall pick of the 2007 NBA Draft taking offense to James dancing on the sidelines during a Chicago Bulls vs. Miami Heat game. From there, the dislike built between the two NBA stars.
But then again, James has shown he can co-exist with past rivals. Just last season, he was able to get along with Lance Stephenson — best known for that ear-blowing incident back in 2014. The Heat were playing the Indiana Pacers during Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals at the time.
While the Lakers have not indicated yet that Noah could be in consideration, there are reasons to avoid him. One is that the 6-foot-11 enforcer is not the same guy who energized the Bulls from 2007 to 2016. Since leaving Chicago, the former Florida Gators talent has been plagued by injuries and never really got his old game back.
Noah last played for the Memphis Grizzlies. averaging 7.1 points, 5.7 rebounds and 2.1 assists in 42 games. His best year was back during the 2013-14 NBA season, averaging 12.6 points, 11.3 rebounds, and 5.4 assists in 80 games.
The Lakers do need to fill up a gaping hole in the middle and the 2014 NBA Defensive of the Year could make sense. Los Angeles could look into it, but need to know his current conditioning and health before proceeding.
Should that fall into place, it also raises an interesting trivia from Mark Strotman of NBC Chicago:
If the Lakers end up signing Joakim Noah….
LeBron James will have been teammates with Joakim Noah, Derrick Rose, Luol Deng, Kyle Korver and Carlos Boozer.
Those were the five leading scorers from the 2011 Bulls.