The Los Angeles Lakers waived DeMarcus Cousins on Sunday to open a roster spot for Markieff Morris, who agreed to a buyout from the Detroit Pistons on Friday. Cousins wasn’t expected to play this season after suffering a torn ACL in August, but he was expected to stay on the roster for the remainder of the season because of how close he is to the team’s stars, most notably his former New Orleans Pelicans teammate Anthony Davis.
Cousins cleared waivers on Tuesday, and while he’s not on the Lakers’ roster anymore, he was getting shots up at the UCLA Health Training Center with the team’s coaching staff earlier in the day. That’s because NBA rules allow a waived player to continue to their injury rehabilitation using their most recent team’s facilities.
However, while it is a formality, the Lakers are happy that they were able to add talent to their roster and keep Cousins around the team.
“He’s become part of our family, so he’s going to be around,” Frank Vogel said after practice on Tuesday.
Vogel confirmed that Cousins won’t be able to sit on the bench or travel with the team anymore, which may not seem like a big deal considering Cousins has been ruled out for the season, but Vogel said Cousins brought an energy to the bench that they’re going to miss.
”On the bench trash talker, yeah he’s been that for us,” Vogel said. “He’s got a good pulse on what our group is going through. There was a game where he challenged LeBron to be more aggressive ... He’s contributed to our culture, and we’re excited that he’s still going to be around in a different capacity while he’s here rehabbing.”
Cousins and the Lakers are expected to negotiate a new contract this summer, with both sides reportedly interested in a reunion. So unless a team makes an offer Cousins can’t refuse, it’s safe to assume he’ll likely back in Los Angeles next season.