Lakers' DeMarcus Cousins calls partnership with Anthony Davis in New Orleans 'special'

Robert Hanashiro (USA Today)

When the New Orleans Pelicans traded Buddy Hield and a first-round pick for DeMarcus Cousins, they expected his union with Anthony Davis to lead to years of contention. Three years later, the pair is together, but on another title contending team. Cousins and Davis struggled through their first few months together, but right as they began to figure it out in their second season as teammates, Cousins ruptured his Achilles tendon. New Orleans let him walk in free agency. Davis asked for a trade six months later. The rest, as they say, is history. 

But neither Cousins nor Davis forgot about what the two shared as Pelicans. It was Davis that recruited Cousins to the Los Angeles Lakers in July, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski. The pair would have also reunited with former Pelicans teammate Rajon Rondo if Cousins had been able to stay healthy. But he tore his ACL in July and has not played since, again missing out on a chance to make a real run alongside Davis. 

Cousins believed one was coming. He spoke to Matt Barnes and Stephen Jackson on their Showtime show, All the Smoke, and expressed his confidence in that partnership. 

"We clicked," Cousins said. "It was, I believe, something special. I think we could've went on a run. Once we got everything around us correct, there was no stopping us."

For a brief moment, there was hope that Cousins and Davis could share the floor again this season. On Saturday, Lakers coach Frank Vogel expressed optimism for a potential return to the floor this season, but he walked those comments back Thursday in saying that Cousins isn't close to coming back. 

Cousins will become a free agent again this offseason, and his place with the Lakers likely depends on the decisions that his teammates make. Dwight Howard will also be a free agent this summer, and JaVale McGee has a player option, so at best, Cousins would likely be only their third priority at the five this offseason. 

But the Lakers could have traded Cousins as salary filler at the trade deadline. They could have waived him to create space for a potential buyout market addition. They haven't, and while there are any number of reasons why they might have made that decision, a likely one is his relationship with Davis. The two chose to play together this season. If they do so again next summer, we may finally see the dominant version of the duo that Cousins believes was in there. 

Sam Quinn joined CBS sports as a basketball writer in 2019. Prior to that, he wrote for 247Sports and Bleacher Report. He is a New York native and NYU graduate who also has roots in Florida and California. Full Bio

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