We May Actually See DeMarcus Cousins Play for the Lakers This Year

This summer, DeMarcus Cousins signed a free-agent deal with the Los Angeles Lakers. Unfortunately, the NBA star quickly suffered an injury. Though the team has moved on and Cousins continues to rehab, there may actually be a chance for him to return to play this season.

DeMarcus Cousins’ NBA career

Cousins played for one season at the University of Kentucky in college. Then, in 2010, the Sacramento Kings selected him fifth overall in the first round of the NBA draft. Here’s what he’s accomplished in his career so far: 

  • 565 games played
  • 21.2 points per game
  • 10.9 rebounds per game
  • 3.2 assists per game
  • 46.1% shooter from the field
  • 33.2% shooter from the three-point line
  • 73.7% shooter from the free-throw line 
  • 22.4 Player Efficiency Rating
  • 44.1 Win shares
  • 2010-2011 All-Rookie Team selection
  • Four-time All-Star selection
  • Two-time All-NBA selection

Cousins played his first six-and-a-half NBA seasons in Sacramento before the Kings traded him to the New Orleans Pelicans during the 2016-17 season. He averaging 25.2 points per game for the Pelicans during the 2017-18 season before he experienced an Achilles injury.

Once he became a free agent, Cousins signed with the Golden State Warriors at a huge discount for the 2018-19 campaign. Adding him at center to go along with Kevin Durant, Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green seemed to simply assure a title they were already guaranteed.

It didn’t work out that way, however. Cousins never quite returned to 100% health and eventually tore his quad. The Warriors lost the NBA finals in six games. This offseason, Cousins signed with the Los Angeles Lakers as a free agent. 

Cousins’ injury and off-court issues

Unfortunately, Cousins suffered another injury. While working out this past summer, he tore his ACL, leaving him out indefinitely. It was a crushing blow for the oft-injured center, another injury in a long line of setbacks for the big man. 

Cousins has also had off-court issues this offseason. He had harassment charges brought against him in Mobile, Alabama this past summer. As ESPN explains, Cousins’ former girlfriend and mother of their 7-year-old child, Christy West, alleged that the NBA player threatened to shoot her as they argued about their son.

Consequently, a warrant was filed for Cousins’ arrest. “TMZ shared an audio recording West took of the incident,” according to ESPN, “And she said the male voice heard was that of Cousins.”

The disagreement reportedly began when West prevented her son from attending Cousins’ upcoming wedding. Recently, the charges were dropped, which means he’s less likely to face a suspension or any disciplinary action from the league.

It doesn’t completely rule out the prospect, as the NBA can still punish him under their domestic violence policy. The standard for league punishment isn’t quite the same as the legal standard. Cousins’ chances of no punishment are far less great than if he’d gone to trial, however.

Cousins has had a lone bright spot this offseason: He got married in a star-studded affair, with many NBA players in attendance.

Why we may see Cousins return to the court this season

While Cousins may be at an all-time low in his career, he may actually end up playing for the Lakers this season. 

According to the Mayo Clinic, the standard expected recovery time for a torn ACL is eight to 12 months. Cousins’ injury occurred in August. An eight-month recovery timeframe puts him back in April — just in time for the playoffs. Everything must go perfectly, but it is possible. 

Cousins may not return as quite the same player he was before the injury. But with Dwight Howard playing effectively at center, the Lakers may only need Cousins in short spurts anyway. It could give them a deadly frontcourt combination come this summer.