The Los Angeles Lakers were dealt a major blow well before the 2019-20 NBA season started when DeMarcus Cousins tore his ACL while working out.
The Lakers signed Cousins to a one-year, $3.5 million deal in hopes that he would be able to return to All-Star form following a torn Achilles and torn quadriceps last season.
It is an unfortunate situation as Cousins — even in a slightly lessened form — remains one of the best centers in the league and would’ve given the Lakers another potential All-Star player but now, he must focus once again on rehabbing and healing himself. He is still on the team’s roster and they plan on treating him as such even if he never actually suits up for them.
According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, the Lakers plan to integrate Cousins into the team’s culture, starting with an upcoming minicamp in Las Vegas:
The Lakers want to integrate center DeMarcus Cousins back into the team’s culture, and he is expected to be around the roster during the LeBron James-led minicamp in Las Vegas this week, league sources said. Cousins suffered a torn ACL in his left knee during workouts in Las Vegas in mid-August and is expected to miss the 2019-20 season. The Lakers have been awarded a $1.75 million Disabled Player Exception from the NBA for the loss of Cousins.
This is a good move for both sides as rehabbing is difficult and being around friends and teammates can help him through the toughest of times. He is also a very intelligent player and having him around on the sidelines and in practices can help the team as a whole as he can see things from the outside that others might not.
One thing the Lakers have always done is take care of their players regardless of their status and how long they have been with them. They famously rewarded Kobe Bryant with his last deal while he was recovering from a torn Achilles and also helped Xavier Henry with his rehab for the same injury even after the team released him.
This is another case of that and even though it might not seem like a big deal to many, it means a lot to the players who all talk amongst each other.