The Los Angeles Lakers clearly have their sights set on adding LeBron James in free agency. At this point, it seems to be a foregone conclusion that will eventually come to fruition.
The next question is who might end up joining James in Hollywood. Now that it looks like Paul George is returning to the Oklahoma City Thunder, speculation about future James’ running partners in Southern California have heated up.
According to Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer, that list includes New Orleans Pelicans All-Star big man DeMarcus Cousins. The report goes on to note that the Lakers will target Cousins on a short-term max contract.
DeMarcus Cousins sounds like an increasingly likely target for the Lakers on a short-term max contract now that it appears Los Angeles will lose out on Paul George, per league sources. In January 2017, LeBron James called Cousins "the best big man in our game."
— Kevin O'Connor (@KevinOConnorNBA) July 1, 2018
Cousins, 27, is considered one of the most-skilled big men in the game. Prior to suffering a season-ending ruptures Achilles last year in New Orleans, Cousins was averaging 25.2 points and 12.9 rebounds per game.
It’s this Achilles injury that has led the Pelicans to be weary of offering Cousins a long-term max contract. If the Lakers are able to land him on a shorter-term deal, it would potentially create one of the best one-two punches in the Western Conference with King James.