Anthony Davis knows that a possible DeMarcus Cousins reunion with the Los Angeles Lakers was the first thing on pundits’ minds when word got out that the Houston Rockets will soon part ways with the controversial big. After all, Boogie seemed the happiest he has been in years during the brief time he spent with the Purple and Gold last season.
If only the injury bug left him alone and allowed him to suit up for at least one game for the Lakers, then maybe there won’t even be debate as to why the reigning champions need him in their roster right now. With superstar Anthony Davis sidelined for four weeks due to an Achilles strain, there’s no question that LeBron James and company need another center. Names like Mo Bamba, Thon Maker, and Dewayne Dedmon have popped up as possible targets, but those should be irrelevant now that Boogie is back in the market.
Sure, those guys are younger and don’t have the same injury history as Cousins, but none of those players have the credentials of the four-time All-Star. Plus, Cousins will most probably come cheap. The Lakers can acquire him for a reasonable buy-out or a possible trade for a future second-rounder will likely suffice.
Why a Boogie reunion makes sense for Lakers
Unfortunately, we don’t have a blueprint on how Cousins would fare with the Lakers since that torn ACL prevented him from suiting up at all. While he is no longer the franchise player he once was, it’s still a good sign that he’s a hundred percent recovered from the harrowing injuries he sustained over the last few years.
Lakers fans know that in 25 games in H-Town, the 30-year-old big man notched respectable numbers of 9.6 points, 7.6 rebounds, and 2.4 assists, while shooting 37.6 percent from the field and 33.6 from deep. He actually had his best game in a Rockets uniform in what turned out to be his final game with the franchise. Cousins put up 19 points, eight rebounds, four assists, two steals, and two blocks in 37 minutes against the Philadelphia 76ers.
That’s still a far cry from the double-double averages he normed at his prime, but it’s a good indication of what he is still capable of at the moment — maybe with the Lakers.
Cousins was expected to get a bigger role in Houston after Christian Wood’s injury. He actually played decent basketball during that stretch, but the Rockets’ seven-game losing streak likely played a major factor in the decision to let him go.
While there are a lot of questions about Cousins’ abilities at this stage of his career, there’s one undeniable intangible why they should re-sign him. Lakers players and brass already hold him in high regard.
Despite not logging in a single second of floor time last season, the Lakers vowed to give Cousins his own championship ring the next time the Rockets visit Staples Center. That’s how much they valued the notorious troublemaker’s presence in the locker room. The Lakers even convinced the league to allow Cousins to continue rehabbing with the team after they cut him.
We all know Boogie’s great relationship with AD on and off the floor during their days with the Pelicans. Even LeBron has spoken highly of him during their brief tenure as Lakers teammates. Regardless if he’s still the same player or not, that strong bond should account for something.
The once temperamental superstar has mellowed down over the years, especially when he’s in a good situation with other leaders on his roster. The Lakers know this.
Another big issue why Cousins’ tenure in Clutch City didn’t last is because they loved to play fast. That system won’t bode well for a 6-foot-10 center coming off an Achilles and ACL injuries. The Lakers don’t play slow basketball per se, but they perform their offensive sets at a methodical pace.
Plus, Marc Gasol and Montrezl Harrell will still get the bulk of the minutes in that frontcourt. The Lakers don’t need Cousins to be the star that he once was. He just needs to be a serviceable back-up to strengthen their second unit.