The Los Angeles Lakers vaulted into contender status after notable free agency signings, but the loss of Lakers’ DeMarcus Cousins to injury is undoubtedly a significant blow. Los Angeles must look at these viable options as replacements.
Potential DeMarcus Cousins Replacements for the Los Angeles Lakers
The Western Conference has had a long-standing reputation of being filled with multiple title contenders. Even after the wildest NBA offseason in recent history, it seems like all of the West’s elite added more pieces for a championship run. Yet ahead of the chaos, it was the Lakers who kicked things off by acquiring superstar Anthony Davis. To build reliable depth, Los Angeles signed numerous veterans to short-term deals.
Among them was DeMarcus Cousins, who signed with the Lakers on a one-year deal. Cousins came off a solid season with the Golden State Warriors. Still, he found the free agency market dry this past summer. Still seeking a max deal, Cousins inked with the Lakers to again bet on himself in 2019.
Adding on to a string of devastating injuries, DeMarcus Cousins suffered a torn ACL in an offseason workout per Shams Charania. It is a tough sight to see for a player like Cousins, who might have just missed out on a realistic chance for the large deal he has long coveted.
For the Los Angeles Lakers, they must look onwards to finding a suitable replacement in the wake of DeMarcus Cousins’ injury. Per Adrian Wojnarowski, Los Angeles is scheduling workouts with a few veteran bigs. The impending season is championship or bust, and the Lakers must eye these available players.
Lakers fans likely could not fathom a reality in which Dwight Howard would return to Staples Center in purple and gold. According to multiple sources, Howard and the Lakers potentially have mutual interest. Howard’s first stint in Los Angeles could not have gone worse, but he would be in a different role this time around. At 33 years old Howard has still proven to be productive. Two seasons ago he appeared and started in 81 games with the Charlotte Hornets, averaging 16.6 points and 12.5 rebounds.
Joakim Noah was once a vital piece of a successful Chicago Bulls core. Yet in recent seasons, particularly with the New York Knicks, Noah has fallen out of the rotation. Last season with the Memphis Grizzlies, however, could be a sliver of hope for bouncing back. Noah averaged 7.1 points and 5.7 rebounds in 41 games for Memphis. He also averaged a respectable 16.5 minutes per game. Joakim Noah could be suitable helping crash the boards while Anthony Davis rests on the bench.
Marcin Gortat‘s last playing time on the court was in Los Angeles, but with the team across the aisle. Gortat was traded to the Los Angeles Clippers and eventually waived in February. Gortat’s starting days are long behind him, but his addition would add some depth to the center position. His scoring average has dipped, but he’s managed to keep his rebounding average at a respectable number. Just three seasons ago, Gortat averaged a double-double in rebounds and scoring.
Greg Monroe has signed with a team, just not in the NBA. Back on July 25, Monroe signed overseas with Bayern Munich. Yet if the Lakers want to go with a (relatively) younger option, they can try to convince Monroe to come back to the NBA. Greg Monroe has not lived up to his lottery pick status, but he is still just 29 years old. Brian Windhorst reiterated the Lakers’ desire to sign a younger center. If that is the case, Monroe is one of the better options, but he will need convincing.
The most surprising name mentioned in planned workouts with the Lakers: Marreese Speights. Yet if Los Angeles is wise and is committed to building the right depth, then eyeing Speights makes sense. Despite his absence last season, Speights averaged a respectable 7.7 points per game with the Orlando Magic in 2018. Better yet, he has championship experience with the Golden State Warriors. The Lakers are a team and organization filled with off-court narratives. The upcoming season will be no different. Should they sign Speights, his impact in the locker room might more vital than on the court.
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