The Los Angeles Lakers have decided to waive Quinn Cook ahead of the deadline for teams to guarantee non-guaranteed contracts, according to a report from Shams Charania of The Athletic on Monday. Cook signed a non-guaranteed contract with the Lakers in December.
The Los Angeles Lakers are waiving guard Quinn Cook, sources tell @TheAthletic @Stadium. Teams are expected to express interest in Cook, who has served as a reliable guard and locker room voice for two title teams in LA and Golden State.— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) February 23, 2021
Cook hasn’t been much of a factor for the Lakers this season, playing just 62 minutes in the 16 games that he’s appeared in, but it wasn’t unreasonable to think they might have guaranteed his contract in spite of that. Since last season, the Lakers have emphasized the importance of team chemistry and Cook is as good as it gets when it comes to positive presences in the locker room.
However, due to the relative unknown status of Anthony Davis, who is expected to be out at least a month due to a calf strain and re-aggravated Achilles tendinosis, the front office may have seen a unique opportunity to improve their roster.
If the Lakers fully guaranteed Cook’s contract, they would have only been able to sign one player to the pro-rated veteran’s minimum after Feb. 24. Now, they can sign two, and they’ve already been linked to one player: DeMarcus Cousins, who was on last year’s team.
Waiving Cook also gives the Lakers some financial flexibility in trades. On Saturday, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reported that the Lakers have been “active” in trade discussions and mentioned Houston Rockets forward P.J. Tucker as someone they’ve inquired about.
As for Cook, it’s hard to imagine he’ll be a free agent for long. He’s generally regarded as one of the most well-liked players in the league and rightfully so. He brought a positive energy to a team that needed it at various points last season and seemed to revel being a Laker. He’ll be missed even if it won’t show on the court.