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The Los Angeles Lakers had a chance to further strengthen their lineup but passed up on the opportunity of signing All-Star big man DeMarcus Cousins.
Cousins shook the league when he signed a cheap $5.3 million deal to join the Golden State Warriors on Monday. The four-time All-Star who turned down a $40 million contract extension with the New Orleans Pelicans was originally thought to be a max-contract type of player before the Achilles tendon injury.
An Achilles tendon tear is one of the most horrific injuries for a basketball player to rehabilitate. It is the primary reason for the disinterest of some teams on Cousins.
Prior to signing with the Warriors, Cousins also garnered interest from the Pelicans, Washington Wizards, and the Dallas Mavericks. Numerous reports around the league say that the LA Lakers cut their negotiations with Cousins when they reached an agreement with former Boston Celtics star Rajon Rondo.
The LA Lakers also renounced Julius Randle thereafter making him an unrestricted free agent. With the help of Anthony Davis, the Pelicans were able to bring Julius Randle to New Orleans on a two-year deal.
Bad Move By The Lakers
Moments after signing Rondo, the LA Lakers had $5.6 million left in cap space, which is close to the one-year deal Cousins signed with the Warriors. Currently, the LA Lakers have JaVale McGee, Ivica Zubac, and Moritz Wagner at the center spot, all of which are considered by experts as less significant players on the best team in the league.
With Cousins joining the Warriors, the LA Lakers are expected to make a run at Alex Len who is among the decent centers available in the free agent list. Cousins lit up the stat sheet last season with averages of 25.2 points, 12.9 rebounds, 5.4 assists, 1.6 steals, and 1.6 blocks while leading the Pelicans into a 27-21 win-loss slate.
Cousins is expected to be a great addition to the Warriors lineup who sports two-time league Most Valuable Player Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green.
The 27-year-old is expected to make his return to the court in January or February. Sports pundits believe that Cousins is definitely worth a risk of a one-year deal despite his injury.
According to Marc Stein of the New York Times, the LA Lakers took their name off Cousins sweepstakes, citing that they are in “win now” mode. After acquiring LeBron James, the team spent a total of $27.8 million in signing Rondo, McGee, Lance Stephenson, and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope into one-year deals.
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