DeMarcus Cousins has cleared waivers on Thursday after getting released by the Houston Rockets, making him available to join any team in the league as a free agent, per Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium. Cousins' departure from Houston had more to do with how the team wants to play moving forward more than the former All-Star's performance.
The Rockets want to go smaller and prioritize minutes for their younger players, especially when Christian Wood returns from injury. While Cousins wasn't putting up the numbers he did when he was the focal point on offense during his Sacramento Kings days, he still made an impact during his time coming off the bench, as well as starting for a portion of Houston's games. He averaged 9.6 points, 7.6 rebounds and 2.4 assists in 25 games for the Rockets.
Houston took a leap of faith with Cousins, who was coming off two significant injuries in back-to-back seasons, including an ACL tear that cost him the entirety of the 2019-20 season. Prior to that, he played in 30 games with the Golden State Warriors, where he put up 16 points and eight boards, including a standout performance in Game 5 of the 2019 NBA Finals.
Although he is no longer starter material, he has shown the ability to stay healthy this season, which has been an issue for him since being traded from Sacramento to New Orleans back in 2017. He'll now be able to join any team in need of some frontcourt depth for the remainder of the season.
The Lakers and Raptors are two teams that immediately come to mind, as L.A. is grappling with the loss of Anthony Davis who is expected to miss a minimum of four weeks, while the Raptors have struggled all season in the frontcourt now that Marc Gasol and Serge Ibaka are no longer on the roster. The Raptors have reported interest in trading for Andre Drummond who the Cavaliers have made available, but with Cousins also on the market, he certainly provides a cheaper option as a center who can also spread the floor a bit.