After being waived by the Houston Rockets in February, it didn't look like there was a ton of interest from teams wanting to sign DeMarcus Cousins. However, now that the trade deadline is over and teams are assessing the field, Cousins has, at least for 10 days, found a new home with the Los Angeles Clippers, the team announced Monday.
The Clippers, who currently sit in third place in the West standings with a 32-18 record, want to add some additional size behind Ivica Zubac and Serge Ibaka, and Cousins offers that at a low cost. After the Los Angeles Lakers signed Andre Drummond on the buyout market, the Clippers likely saw that as motivation to add more size to match up better with their Staples Center neighbors.
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However, there are obvious reservations from taking on a player with Cousins' injury history. Since the 2017 trade that sent him to the New Orleans Pelicans from Sacramento Kings, the once-dominant big man hasn't been able to find a long-term spot on any other roster in the league. Significant injuries have largely been the culprit, making Cousins a shell of his former self. Dating back to 2018, here is the list of major injuries he has suffered:
- January 2018: Ruptured left Achilles with Pelicans
- April 2019: Torn left quad in first round of playoffs with Golden State Warriors
- August 2019: Torn left ACL during workout after signing with Lakers as free agent
All of these injuries compacted on top of each other would be too much for a player of any size in the NBA. Now factor in that Cousins is 6-foot-10, 270 pounds and it makes the recovery process that much more cumbersome. In his 25 games with the Rockets, Cousins was rather inefficient on offense, shooting 37.6 percent from the field, which is a career low, but he averaged almost 10 points a game in 20 minutes of action.
Cousins, 30, was never known to be a great defender, even prior to all of his injuries, and he's slowly showed regression on that side of the floor in the last three seasons due to a loss in athleticism. But in Houston this year, he showed some better lateral movement and overall effort on defense.
The positive for the Clippers is that Cousins likely won't be tasked with playing big minutes if he's expected to be third on the depth chart among their big men, so he'll be able to match up well against other team's opposing benches. If he's able to stay healthy and engaged, he'll offer some solid bench minutes and size in the frontcourt for L.A. Since he'll be on a 10-day contract, the Clippers will be able to see how well he meshes with the team and make a decision on if they want to sign him for the remainder of the season. All this shows there aren't too many cons for the Clippers with this deal.