With the 2019-20 NBA season soon set to resume in Orlando, free agent DeMarcus Cousins has reportedly drawn interest from multiple teams. The question remains whether he plans to sit out the remainder of the season or sign with a team. The veteran center is weighing his options and has not ruled out playing in Orlando, according to his agent Jeff Schwartz, via Tania Ganguli of the Los Angeles Times. Cousins, who hasn't appeared in an NBA game since last June, is looking for a comfortable fit in order to ease back into action. His agent's update comes after The Athletic's Shams Charania reported Tuesday that Cousins will opt to sit out the resumed season and focus on rehabbing ahead of the 2020-21 season.
Cousins has battled a string of injury issues over the past couple of years, the most recent of which occurred in August when he tore his ACL in preseason workouts as a member of the Los Angeles Lakers. Cousins also tore his Achilles tendon as a member of the New Orleans Pelicans in 2018 and suffered a quad injury with the Golden State Warriors in 2019. The Lakers subsequently waived Cousins in February, as he wasn't expected to be ready to return in time for the team's postseason push. However, once the postseason was moved back several months, there was speculation that Cousins could return and play a role for a contender.
At this point, the 29-year-old big man has to decide if the risk of returning to action in Orlando is worth the reward. By signing with a contender, Cousins would have an opportunity to chase a championship and earn a ring. Yet after being sidelined for nearly a year, Cousins' risk of injury in Orlando would be elevated. Another setback would severely impact Cousins' future earning ability in free agency, as he will be seeking a fresh contract over the offseason. Sitting out of the restart in Orlando would give him an additional six months to rehab without having to worry about in-game action.
Ultimately, it's a decision that only Cousins can make, but if he opts not to play, that decision will likely come as a disappointment to many teams across the league's landscape that were hoping to add a solid center for their playoff push. One player in particular that will be disappointed is Washington Wizards guard John Wall, who played college basketball at Kentucky with him, and recently lobbied for the Wizards to add Cousins to their roster.
"Oh man, you know I'm trying to push for that. I've been on that for like five years. I want to sign him right now," Wall said in an Instagram interview with The Undefeated (h/t Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington). Wall added that he and Wizards general manager Tommy Sheppard have "been talking about it here and there."
Cousins is one of the best players available -- if not the best player available -- for teams to sign, and he showed in the Finals last year that he could be an effective piece even if he's not at 100 percent. Thus, it will be extremely interesting to see what he decides to do.