Lakers Rumors: Los Angeles might pass on DeMarcus Cousins this offseason

NEW ORLEANS, LA - JANUARY 26: DeMarcus Cousins
NEW ORLEANS, LA - JANUARY 26: DeMarcus Cousins /

Recent Lakers rumors have been about who they will be pursuing this offseason. Despite being a big name, the Lakers might not pursue DeMarcus Cousins.

Most Lakers rumors about this upcoming offseason have been surrounding Paul George and LeBron James. As the top two free agents, it makes sense that the Lakers will be trying to pursue both of them to spring the franchise toward being a contender in the Western Conference.

In addition to James and George, there was another marquee free agent this offseason in DeMarcus Cousins. Unfortunately for Cousins, he suffered a torn achillies this season and had to undergo surgery.

Prior to that, Cousins was considered to be right up there with  James and George in this year’s free agency class, as he was the best big man available. Now, Cousins’ free agency status is a bit unclear. Since he is coming off a major injury, teams are going to be leary to hand out a max contract to Cousins. Recently, Zach Lowe of talked about Cousins and what he might be able to expect in free agency this offseason. Here’s what he had to say.

"Only a half-dozen or so teams have max-level space this season, and most won’t pursue Cousins at that level, sources say. He doesn’t make sense for rebuilding teams. Even bad teams hungry for a big jump in wins next season — say, the Suns — can’t be confident Cousins will be ready to produce at his usual All-Star level until 2019-20, anyway. (Still: Never underestimate Robert Sarver’s July 1 exuberance in the name of short-term gain.) Some teams are afraid of his baggage.There may be only two suitors among the cap-room brigade: the Mavericks and the Lakers. And L.A.’s interest is unclear. If the Lakers whiff on LeBron and Paul George, they may want to keep their cap room open for 2019 and beyond — meaning no fat long-term deal for Cousins."

Since the Lakers have the space to sign two max free agents, they will obviously be in the running for Cousins this offseason. However, there hasn’t been as clear evidence that they are as interested in him as they are in George and James.

If the Lakers do end up missing on James and George, they might elect to stick it out one more season with their young core and look to add free agents on one-year deals like they did last offseason with Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. Since the 2019 free agency class is shaping up to be a very strong one as well, the Lakers might be best-suited to avoid handing out a max contract to Cousins and just wait one more season.

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If Cousins wasn’t coming off the achillies tear, the discussion about him this offseason would likely be a much different one. However, the major injury could result in Cousins not being a max contract caliber player anymore and that is a risk that the Lakers should not take.