The Los Angeles Lakers came into the offseason determined to upgrade their roster. After winning the NBA Championship in the Orlando Bubble, they fell woefully short of expectations this season.
Los Angeles had to defeat the Golden State Warriors in the NBA Play-In Tournament to earn the seventh seed in the Western Conference. They were then defeated in six games by the Phoenix Suns as Anthony Davis was injured during the series.
Injuries were a big part of the Lakers’ struggling throughout last season. But, not content with just running it back for this season, they revamped their entire roster this offseason.
As things currently stand, LeBron James is the longest-tenured Laker and he has only been with the team for three seasons. He, Anthony Davis, Marc Gasol and Talen Horton-Tucker are the only players from the 2020-21 roster that are returning this season to the team.
Los Angeles saw Alex Caruso, Markieff Morris, Andre Drummond and Ben McLemore signed with different teams. Alfonzo McKinnie was waived while Jared Dudley and Wesley Matthews remain free agents.
The biggest move the Lakers made was acquiring Russell Westbrook from the Washington Wizards in exchange for Kyle Kuzma, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Montrezl Harrell and the 22nd pick in the 2021 NBA Draft.
Rob Pelinka then got to work signing a ton of free agents despite being strapped for cash. Kendrick Nunn signed a two-year, $10 million deal for the mid-level exception. Malik Monk, Carmelo Anthony, Trevor Ariza, Dwight Howard, Kent Bazemore, Wayne Ellington all signed veteran minimum deals. Kendrick Nunn was also added into the mix.
With a few roster spots remaining, the Lakers can still hand out a few more veteran minimum deals. Who could take those spots? Here are three more veterans Los Angeles should target on ring-chasing deals.
3. DeMarcus Cousins
There has been a bit of a trend with the signings that the Lakers have made this offseason. Four of them, Trevor Ariza, Dwight Howard, Kent Bazemore and Wayne Ellington, are all former Lakers. So, why not make it one more with DeMarcus Cousins?
Cousins has had his once-promising career derailed by injuries. It was only three years ago that he was thought by many to be the best center in the NBA. Since then, injuries have mounted and he has struggled to get his career back on track.
He started this past season with the Houston Rockets before he was bought out and signed by the LA Clippers. He showed that he can still produce, as he played well with the Clippers.
DeMarcus Cousins was signed by the Lakers in 2019 but tore his ACL during offseason pickup games. He never played a game with the purple and gold, as they needed his roster spot once it became apparent he would not be able to play.
Could a reunion be in the works? DeMarcus Cousins has tried to ring chase previously, signing with the Golden State Warriors before the Lakers. If he wants to do it again, the Lakers have a spot for him, but playing time may be tough to come by.