The Los Angeles Lakers have offered rings to every player who was on their championship roster last season, from Avery Bradley (who didn’t join his teammates for their title run in the NBA bubble) to Troy Daniels (who was bought out and joined their eventual Conference Finals opponent, the Denver Nuggets). DeMarcus Cousins — who never played a game for the Lakers and was cut mid-season to make room for Markieff Morris — will be no exception.
Cousins ended up signing with the Houston Rockets in free agency this offseason, but his former teammate, Danny Green, publicly lobbied for him to get a ring, and Cousins confirmed to reporters last week that the Lakers will present him with one when Los Angeles hosts the Rockets later this season (the game is not scheduled yet).
He says getting the ring is an honor, even it’s obvious he would have preferred to fight for it on the court:
“It’s dope man, it’s dope. It just shows that my presence was appreciated in that locker room. I mean obviously I wasn’t able to step on the floor and perform with the guys, but I did do my part. My limited part with just providing for the locker room, providing knowledge to the younger guys and the guys that were in need of it. So I’m thankful for it.”
Reporter: You’ve done some good things in your career, where will that moment stack up for you?
“It’ll be a dope moment. It’ll be a dope moment. Obviously it’s not the way that I want it, but I’m still appreciative of it and I’ll be thankful.”
You can watch video of the exchange below:
DeMarcus Cousins (@boogiecousins) on the @Lakers plans to present him with his NBA championship ring with his name inscribed on it when the #Rockets play there: “It’s dope man it’s dope. It just shows my presence was appreciated in that locker room..It’ll be a dope moment.” pic.twitter.com/RRlwhh7EoQ— Mark Berman (@MarkBermanFox26) February 6, 2021
As Cousins noted, he obviously was never able to suit up in Los Angeles, but it was obvious that his teammates felt he helped them in other ways, as covered in our season review:
From the sidelines, he was still able to find ways to contribute. He helped the team come up with in-game defensive adjustments. His status as a fellow star — even an injured one — allowed him to call out both Anthony Davis and LeBron James when he felt they weren’t being aggressive enough. The front office and ownership group reportedly really appreciated his presence in the locker room.
And despite some quite frankly horrifying threats Cousins was allegedly caught on audio recording making to his former girlfriend — charges against him for those threats were later dropped, and the NBA took no public action as a result of its investigation — the Lakers still thought highly enough of him to fight for the league to allow Cousins to continue to rehab his Achilles in their practice facility even after cutting him. That they would also give him a ring after all that doesn’t exactly come as a shock.
As noted before, the exact date for Cousins’ ring presentation is to be determined, but given how the Lakers handled their ring night without fans, it’s likely he will be acknowledged either prior to the game before the Rockets, or at some point early on with one of the little tribute videos teams sometimes do during one of the first timeouts for returning players. Expect more details when the second half of the schedule is announced in the next few weeks.