Los Angeles Lakers rumors: DeMarcus Cousins not a target, Hassan Whiteside very well could be

By Vincent Frank
Jan 23, 2021; Dallas, Texas, USA; Houston Rockets center DeMarcus Cousins (15) and Dallas Mavericks guard Tyler Bey (2) in action during the game between the Dallas Mavericks and the Houston Rockets at the American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Los Angeles Lakers rumors will continue to pick up in the month leading up to the NBA trade deadline regarding potential veteran additions for the defending champions. That was magnified earlier this week when Los Angeles waived veteran guard Quinn Cook, creating a roster spot in the process.

All of this comes at a time when the Houston Rockets are slated to release former Lakers center, All-Star DeMarcus Cousins, in the coming days.

There’s obviously a link between the two despite the fact that Cousins did not play a single game in his only season with the Lakers due to a torn ACL. Could a reunion be in the cards? Not so fast.

Read More: NBA trade rumors: Latest updates leading up to the March 25 deadline

Los Angeles Lakers not expected to pursue DeMarcus Cousins

DeMarcus Cousins, Los Angeles Lakers rumors
Feb 11, 2021; Houston, Texas, USA; Houston Rockets center DeMarcus Cousins (15) looks on against the Miami Heat during the fourth quarter at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Carmen Mandato/Pool Photos-USA TODAY Sports

“There are no immediate plans to fill Cook’s roster spot, and multiple people with knowledge of the situation said they don’t expect the Lakers to reunite with Houston center DeMarcus Cousins if he becomes available as expected,” the Los Angeles Times reported. “The team will, however, monitor the buyout and trade markets for potential additions to their frontcourt.”

In the midst of a three-game losing streak and with All-Star big man Anthony Davis sidelined to injury, Lakers rumors had hinted in the direction of a move for a veteran. The release of Cook added another layer to this.

However, general manager Rob Pelinka wants to keep his options open with that roster spot. Young Orlando Magic big man Mo Bamba has been among those bandied about as a potential trade target for the Lakers. As for the buyout market, there’s a darn good chance Detroit Pistons forward Blake Griffin could become available.

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Los Angeles Lakers rumors point to Hassan Whiteside being an option

Los Angeles Lakers rumors: Hassan Whiteside
February 15, 2021; Sacramento, California, USA; Sacramento Kings center Hassan Whiteside (20) shoots the basketball against Brooklyn Nets guard Landry Shamet (20) during the second quarter at Golden 1 Center. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

“Sacramento center Hassan Whiteside, who is averaging 8.3 points, 5.7 rebounds and 1.3 blocked shots in 14-1/2 minutes per game, is a possible target the team could pursue,” the very same LA Times report noted.

Whiteside, 31, has been in and out of the Sacramento Kings’ rotation thus far in his first season in California’s capital city. He’s playing under a mere one-year, $2.3 million contract after averaging 15.5 points, 13.5 rebounds and a league-leading 2.9 blocks for the Portland Trail Blazers a season ago.

While Whiteside has proven to be vastly overrated and finds himself as a one-dimensional figure, he would certainly be an upgrade over the washed Marc Gasol in Los Angeles.

Prior to Davis’ Achilles’ injury, the Lakers were riding high. They won 21-of-27 to open the season. However, the big man being sidelined has opened up a can of worms in Southern California.

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Particularly in the frontcourt, depth could be an issue moving forward on the season and into the postseason. That’s especially true with Rudy Gobert and the Utah Jazz dominating as well as the presence of Nikola Jokic in Denver and Deandre Ayton’s breakout season with the surprising Phoenix Suns.

Expect the Lakers to scour both the buyout and trade markets ahead of the March 25 NBA trade deadline. Just don’t look for DeMarcus Cousins to rejoin the team. That no longer appears to be a possibility.

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