DeMarcus Cousins is looking at a lengthy spell on the sidelines, with the 6-foot-11 center suffering from a left knee ACL rupture. The injury may result in the 29-year-old missing a large part of the next NBA season, with the fans fearing he could miss out on the entire season! This comes as a huge blow to the Los Angeles Lakers, who have championship ambitions this year.
Jeff Schwartz, Cousins’ agent, said they are still deciding when the surgery will take place. Cousins injured himself last week during a workout in Las Vegas. This isn’t the first time Cousins is struggling with an injury, since his last major problem was just four months ago, when he tore his left quadriceps. Furthermore, a year and a half ago, he tore the left Achilles tendon. He missed a lot of games due to these injuries, which also had an effect on his bank account.
Kyle Kuzma, Lakers’ forward, who’s currently getting ready for the FIBA World Cup with the national team, addressed Cousins’ injury. He said that DeMarcus was an important part of the team’s plan for the next season. He added that this injury would hurt the team, and they had to wait and see the full extent of it.
Cousins was a free agent back in 2018, when he was looking forward to penning a multi-year deal which would be worth over $100 million. However, the Achilles tear meant that he had to settle for a one-year deal, with the Warriors, which was worth $5.3 million.
This summer was the same story. Due to the quadriceps injury, Cousins had to agree to another one-year contract with the Lakers. This time, his salary is $3.5 million. This is well below what would, in normal conditions, be the salary of a center who averaged more than ten rebounds and 20 points a game throughout his career. In June, Cousins said that he felt how quickly things could change, so he wasn’t going to take his NBA career for granted. Cousins was a member of the GSW team that lost the finals to the Toronto Raptors 4–2. So, according to the center, whenever he had the chance to play, he would give his all.
Last year, the Lakers had an offseason which they used to improve their roster massively. This was supposed to be a major season for Cousins. He was projected to have a major impact on the team and be part of the big trio, with LeBron James and Anthony Davis, who was Cousins’ former teammate at the Pelicans. The idea was, if he had an impressive season, he would be set up for a hefty increase in salary next summer.
However, with the ACL rupture, we don’t know whether he’ll feature at all this year. If it does end up like so, it would be interesting to see whether any team will be ready to take on the risk and sign the injury-prone center who entered his thirties. Still, when fit, the six-time All-Star would be a welcome addition to anyone.
The Lakers, despite Cousins’ injury, still have a roster which is talented enough to end the playoff drought. Led by King James, the franchise plans to end their worst run in history, which currently sits at six seasons in a row without playing in the playoffs.
James had injury problems as well last season, during which he had an average of 8.5 rebounds, 27.4 points, and 8.3 assists.
Anthony Davis left the New Orleans Pelicans to join the Lakers this season. A six-time All-Star joins Rajon Rondo, who was re-signed, as well as JaVale McGee and Danny Green who comes to the City of Angels on a two-year deal valued at $30 million. Green won the NBA title with the Raptors last season.
What Next For Cousins?
However, Cousins was supposed to have a significant role. Without him, the Lakers lack at the center position, with only McGee and Davis having experience in that position. But, even then, Davis is not a center primarily.
Kuzma said that he was sad to learn about Cousins’ injury, especially when it was obvious to see how much DeMarcus was in love with the sport. He added that it was unfortunate for him to get hurt again as he worked so hard to get back on the court the quickest possible.
Cousins played nine NBA seasons, wearing Kings, Pelicans, and Warriors’ jerseys. During his career, he averaged 10.9 rebounds and 21.2 points. He’s one of only 11 players in the history of the league to achieve those averages. There are only two other active players on that list — Joel Embiid from the Philadelphia 76ers and the Timberwolves’ Karl-Anthony Towns.