Not including Cook, the Lakers have carried an extra roster spot all season, presumably with the buyout market in mind. Now, general manager Rob Pelinka will have up to two spots to fill heading into the second half of the season.
According to Dan Woike and Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times, the Lakers have “no immediate plans” to fill Cook's spot on the roster, and certainly not with Cousins, who was waived by the Houston Rockets on Monday.
“Multiple people with knowledge of the situation said they don’t expect the Lakers to reunite with Houston center DeMarcus Cousins if he becomes available as expected,” Woike and Turner write.
As I covered on Sunday, not pursuing Cousins is smart, despite his familiarity with the Lakers locker room.
Cousins was waived by the Rockets on Monday. The 30-year old is averaging 9.6 points and 7.6 rebounds in 2020-21, but is shooting just 37.6 percent from the field while making 33.6 percent of his threes.
However, Pelinka will monitor the buyout market and trading block for possible upgrades. The defending champions are 22-10 on the season but have lost four of five games and three in a row following the injury to Anthony Davis (calf strain, out four weeks). The Lakers have suffered from the recent loss of key ball-handler Dennis Schröder (health and safety protocols), too.
Los Angeles could use front-court insurance while Davis is out, along with improved rim protection and three-point shooting — both weak spots since mid-January. Despite their struggles, the Lakers still own the top defensive rating in basketball.
On Monday, L.A. shockingly lost in overtime at home to the Washington Wizards, 127-124, after holding a double-digit lead. Backup big Montrezl Harrell scored 26 points on Monday, but the Lakers' lack of size proved troublesome against Robin Lopez.
Marc Gasol has started every game at center in his first season in Los Angeles. He's averaging only 4.2 points and 4.5 rebounds per game, but has hit over 41 percent of his threes over the past 10 games.
Cook was waived one day before his contract was set to become guaranteed for the rest of the season. The 27-year old, who had been a member of the Lakers for the past two seasons, was a beloved locker room presence but appeared in just 16 games for L.A. in 2020-21.
Cook won two titles with the Golden State Warriors before joining the Lakers.