DeMarcus Cousins, Rockets Agree to 1-Year Contract in 2020 NBA Free Agency

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistNovember 23, 2020

LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 21: DeMarcus Cousins #15 of the Los Angeles Lakers works out prior to the start of a basketball game against the Memphis Grizzlies at Staples Center on February 21, 2020 in Los Angeles, 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 Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

Big man DeMarcus Cousins found a new team and will surely want to play for it this time around.

Cousins confirmed to Marc Spears of The Undefeated on Monday that he has agreed to a one-year deal with the Houston Rockets.

"Grateful for the opportunity and excited for what's ahead," Cousins told Spears.

Per Tim MacMahon of ESPN, the contract is for the veteran's minimum. Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium reported it's a non-guaranteed contract:

Per Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports, Cousins worked out for the Rockets on Monday and "impressed" the team:

This comes after ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski and Ramona Shelburne reported the Los Angeles Lakers waived him in February before he ever took to the court for the Purple and Gold. He was recovering from a torn ACL and was waived so the team could add Markieff Morris.

ESPN's Bobby Marks noted at the time whichever team claimed Cousins "would have non-Bird rights and could offer him a contract up to $4.2M (or mid-level exception/cap space) as a FA."

Cousins tore his ACL during an August 2019 workout after he signed a one-year deal with the Lakers and appeared to be working his way back toward playing status before they waived him. During the February All-Star break, Lakers head coach Frank Vogel told reporters (h/t Harrison Faigen of Silver Screen & Roll) the University of Kentucky product was "on track to get healthy by the playoffs."

That was before the playoffs and the end of the regular season were pushed back by an extensive hiatus because of the COVID-19 pandemic, so Cousins had additional time to recover before play resumed in the bubble near Orlando, Florida.

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Alas, he did not play in 2019-20, and injuries have defined his recent efforts and will serve as a backdrop as he adjusts to his new team.

Cousins also ruptured his Achilles in January 2018 while playing for the New Orleans Pelicans and tore his left quadriceps in the first round of the playoffs in April 2019 for the Golden State Warriors.

He didn't return until the NBA Finals, which Golden State lost to the Toronto Raptors.

Cousins turned 30 years old in August, and it is fair to wonder if he can ever replicate his production from when he was one of the best big men in the league. The Sacramento Kings selected him with the No. 5 overall pick out of Kentucky in the 2010 NBA draft, and he developed into a four-time All-Star and two-time All-NBA selection.

He sports career averages of 21.2 points, 10.9 rebounds, 3.2 assists, 1.4 steals and 1.2 blocks per game while shooting 46.1 percent from the field and 33.2 percent from three-point range.

If explosiveness is to be an issue as he ages and recovers from so many physical setbacks, Cousins' new team may ask him to become more of a perimeter threat. He hinted at his potential as a matchup problem by connecting on 35.9 percent of his triples in New Orleans and could have a chance to build on those numbers.

If he does, he will remain a dangerous offensive player past his prime.