The Rockets want to remain in championship contention. But they have an expensive, aging core and a depleted stock of draft picks. Stars James Harden and Russell have reportedly requested trades.
So, Houston will take a swing on DeMarcus Cousins.
Shams Charania of The Athletic:
Cousins will sign a one-year, non-guaranteed deal, sources said. Houston expressed interest in signing the four-time All-Star before the NBA restart in July. Cousins serves as an upside signing, and has shown focus and drive in rehab through multiple long-term injuries. https://t.co/LUCaKrWwcj
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) November 23, 2020
Just a few years ago, Cousins was one of the NBA’s most talented centers.
But he has since torn his Achilles, torn his quad and torn his ACL. The 30-year-old’s athleticism is likely severely diminished. Plus, he has missed significant time for training.
It’s telling Cousins couldn’t get even a guaranteed minimum contract.
So, while this is a low-risk, high-reward proposition for Houston, it’s far more likely to produce minimal returns.
Beyond on-court considerations, there are also chemistry concerns. Cousins has a history of attitude problems, and the Rockets already have cultural issues. This situation is combustible.
Still, Cousins’ theoretical talent is tantalizing. What if he returns to form? That could be just the jolt the Rockets need. Even as a big-name acquisition, Cousins could impress Harden enough to buy Houston more time with Harden’s trade request.
But don’t get too enchanted with fantasy. Lower-profile Christian Wood is the Rockets’ top acquisition of the offseason.