Washington Wizards point guard John Wall brought up the potential to reel in center DeMarcus Cousins into the fold, now that he is an unrestricted free agent and eligible to join a team for the restart of the NBA season.
The big man was waived by the Los Angeles Lakers late in February, as they needed roster flexibility and it was unlikely that Cousins, who had suffered a season-ending ACL tear, would suit back up anytime in the 2019-20 season.
Boogie continued to rehabilitate in Los Angeles even after he had been released — something that shows NBA teams weren’t dying to get their hands on him as a free agent.
When most NBA front offices pass on a free agent of that caliber, it’s likely for a reason, and the Wizards should take heed.
Boogie is coming off a torn Achilles in Feb. 2018, a torn quad last April, and a torn ACL this past summer — completing the trifecta of lower-leg injuries in less than a year and a half.
A four-time All-Star and a two-time All-NBA mention, Cousins is no longer the double-double machine he was in his heyday. Even with all the time in the world to complete his rehab with the Golden State Warriors, he never looked quite the same.
Cousins wasn’t the most athletic even when healthy, but he appeared a step slow last season, losing his first-step quickness and the little athleticism he had as a beefy 6-foot-11, 270-pound big man.
Wall vouching for Cousins comes as no surprise, as the Wizards point and the burly center were former teammates at Kentucky, where they won a lot together during their brief time in college. Wall has been pushing for this signing for years:
“Oh man, you know I’m trying to push for that. I’ve been on that for like five years. I want to sign him right now,” Wall told Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated. “[But] I’m like ‘bro, be smart, take your time to get all the way healthy so you can show these people what you’re all about.’
“I want him to focus on that and get back to the Boogie that he was.”
While the Wizards haven’t gotten the Thomas Bryant they expected after signing an injury-riddled Dwight Howard didn’t work out, this is not the time to take a gamble on another big-name center based on his past achievements.
Bryant is still young and could benefit from some time off after battling injuries this season. While the restart of the 2019-20 season won’t likely be a stage to shine, the offseason could bring a very different horizon, without the need of reuniting these two former Wildcats.
The Wizards will need Wall back after a two-year absence once the 2020-21 season commences, but they would be best served staying away from Cousins until he has proved to have survived his recent slew of injuries.