Lakers News: DeMarcus Cousins Waived as Markieff Morris Signs Contract

Megan ArmstrongSenior Analyst I

SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA - FEBRUARY 08: Injured Los Angeles Lakers DeMarcus Cousins #15 works out shooting prior to the start of an NBA basketball game against the Golden State Warriors at Chase Center on February 08, 2020 in San Francisco, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

DeMarcus Cousins' tenure as a Los Angeles Laker has ended before he played a single game for the team.

The Lakers announced on Sunday they are waiving the 29-year-old center in order to create a roster spot for Markieff Morris, who signed with the team after clearing waivers following a buyout with the Detroit Pistons.

Dave McMenamin @mcten

The Lakers make the Morris addition official. DeMarcus Cousins is waived to create the roster spot. https://t.co/9KLvOPgr8t

Bobby Marks of ESPN offered some details on the timing of the release:

Bobby Marks @BobbyMarks42

The $1.75M Disabled Player Exception is still available even with Los Angeles waiving DeMarcus Cousins. The exception was granted as a result of Cousins likely out for the entire NBA season. https://t.co/nPPzLevOxC

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reported Morris signed a $1.75 million deal with the team's disabled player exception.

Cousins suffered a torn ACL during an August workout in Las Vegas. He had signed with the Lakers on a one-year contract in July.

Marc Stein of the New York Times added later Friday night that Cousins is "expected to be granted access to keep using Laker facilities" while continuing to recover from his ACL tear. League rules indicate injured players can continue using the team's facilities after being waived.

Lakers head coach Frank Vogel told reporters during last Saturday's All-Star Weekend festivities that Cousins was "on track" to play for the team in the playoffs (h/t Silver Screen and Roll's Harrison Faigen).

However, along with L.A.'s reported pending pairing with Morris, Cousins became disposable because of how well Dwight Howard has performed behind JaVale McGee at the five. The 34-year-old has exceeded expectations and is averaging 7.8 points, 7.8 rebounds and 1.3 blocks in 19.8 minutes across 53 games (two starts).

As for Cousins, this is just the latest development in what has been an injury-plagued few years for the Sacramento Kings' 2010 fifth overall pick that began with a ruptured Achilles in Jan. 2018 while still with the New Orleans Pelicans. The Golden State Warriors then signed him to a one-year contract, but he did not make his 2018-19 debut until Jan. 18.

Once on the court for the Warriors, Cousins suffered a torn quad in the team's first-round playoff series against the Los Angeles Clippers last April. He disclosed to ESPN's Rachel Nichols last June that his quadriceps injury made him feel "ready to quit."

It's worth wondering if Cousins is having those same emotions now that he's searching for his fifth team in 10 seasons.

However, Cousins showed glimpses of his former dominance when briefly healthy for Golden State. He averaged 16.3 points, 8.2 rebounds, 3.6 assists, 1.5 blocks and 1.3 steals in 25.7 minutes across 30 regular-season starts.