24 hours after their upstart co-habitants shook up the league in landing NBA Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard and traded for NBA All-Pro swingman Paul George, the Los Angeles Lakers signed former Golden State Warriors center, DeMarcus Cousins to a one-year $3.5 million deal.
Cousins, considered one of the NBA’s best big men, tore his left Achilles during his time with the New Orleans Pelicans—alongside with being re-united with former Pels teammate in the officially-acquired teammate and fellow Kentucky Wildcat, Anthony Davis.
The four-time All-Star averaged 16.3 points and 8.2 rebounds in 30 games with Dubs last season. After tearing his left quadriceps in Game 2 of the Western Conference quarterfinals vs. the Los Angeles Clippers, the 28-year-old returned for the NBA Finals in scoring 11 points, 10 rebounds and six assists in the Warriors Game 2 win in Toronto.
Cousins has averaged 21.2 points and 10.9 rebounds in 565 career games since being drafted by the Sarcamento Kings in 2010.
Likely to be the starter at center, the Lakers will now boast a projected lineup of Cousins at center, Davis at power forward, LeBron James at small forward, newly-acquired Danny Green—and two-time NBA champion—at shooting guard and 2008 NBA champion Rajon Rondo at point guard.
With still some quality players on the market following the recent Leonard blockbuster deal with the Clippers, players that the Lakers may now target include James’ former Cavaliers teammates, J.R. Smith and Kyle Korver and 2015 NBA Finals MVP, Andre Igudoula, who is expected to be bought out after being recently traded to the Memphis Grizzlies.
But with the flurry of NBA player deals centered around the Lakers and Clippers, its fair to say that The City of Angels is now officially the new mecca of hoops—sorry New York!
With the Lakers signing Cousins, it looks like it’s up to the Clippers to respond in kind.
Your move, Clippers!