Third-degree harassment charges against Lakers center DeMarcus Cousins have been dropped, his attorney Moshae Donald tells ESPN. The case, filed in a Mobile, Alabama court, has been dismissed.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) November 22, 2019
The Mobile, Alabama Police Department first issued a warrant for Cousins in August after TMZ reported that Cousins he threatened to kill his former girlfriend during a phone call on Aug. 23. TMZ posted audio which they say is Cousins speaking to her, and she reportedly filed a restraining order. The NBA said it was looking into the allegations, although the league denied an earlier report that it was trying to facilitate Cousins’ surrender. On Friday, the league said they were still looking into things:
A league spokesman had this to say regarding DeMarcus Cousins’ attorney announcing that charges against him were dropped: “We are reviewing the outcome of today’s proceedings.”— Tania Ganguli (@taniaganguli) November 22, 2019
The Lakers declined comment when the allegations surfaced, and Cousins has been a visible presence at games and practices this season, often shooting off to the side with assistant coaches during media availabilities as the team tries to keep him integrated into their organization.
Cousins was signed by the Lakers in July after spending the prior season with the Golden State Warriors. He tore his ACL in August and is likely to miss the entire season, although Lakers Head Coach Frank Vogel recently said that the team wasn’t closing the door on Cousins coming back this year, something he reiterated on Friday:
Cousins has been very visible around the Lakers this season, rehabbing at the practice facility, traveling and sitting on the bench. I asked Vogel about the decision to have Cousins around while facing criminal charges. He said, “Those are really internal discussions ...”— Bill Oram (@billoram) November 22, 2019
“... so we want him in all the film sessions and practices and being with the team as much as possible so we’ve been pretty active with doing that.”— Bill Oram (@billoram) November 22, 2019
If Cousins attempts to do so, he may face further hurdles beyond the legal system, as Bobby Marks of ESPN points out that even with the charges against Cousins being dropped, he still may face consequences as a result of the league’s domestic violence policy:
Despite the third-degree harassment charges dropped, DeMarcus Cousins could still be fined/suspended as a result of the Domestic Violence policy. The NBA can still proceed with the investigation without it being a criminal matter right now.— Bobby Marks (@BobbyMarks42) November 22, 2019
Even in the wake of this, there is still no guarantee that Cousins will be with the Lakers for the rest of the season. Given that he’s unlikely to return to the floor this year as a result of the usual recovery time for ACL injuries and when it occurred, the team may use his contract to even out salary in a trade, or cut him in order to add a player on the buyout market they’ll be surveying closer to the trade deadline in February.
We will update this post with more information if and when it becomes available.