At the time of the Cousins signing, there was great optimism he could return to All-Star form after two major injuries and it was apparent he was getting in better shape.
As Cousins is expected to miss the entire 2019-20 NBA season, the Lakers reportedly have applied for a disabled player exception, via Shams Charania of The Athletic:
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) September 9, 2019
When the Lakers signed Dwight Howard to a one-year, non-guaranteed deal to replace Cousins, they do not have a roster spot available and would have to waive someone.
If the Lakers are granted the $1.75 million disabled player exception, it would close to a minimum salary ($1.74 million) given to a player with four years of NBA experience.
While the Lakers had to sign another center with just Anthony Davis and JaVale McGee on the roster, they have been heavily linked to Andre Iguodala. However, the Memphis Grizzlies have been unwilling to work on a buyout.
In a scenario where Iguodala is bought out and clears waivers, the Lakers would have to offer him a one-year, $2.56 million deal since he has more than 10 years of experience. Similar to Tyson Chandler and the Phoenix Suns last season, Iguodala could easily make up the difference.
Although the disabled player exception is not enough for most players, Pelinka and company are exhausting all options considering Cousins’ on- and off-the-court situation.
Despite the Cousins situation, there is great optimism heading into the new season. With Davis, LeBron James, and strong role players, the Lakers are not only trying to end their six-year playoff drought but become contenders again.