The Los Angeles Lakers, along with 21 other NBA teams, have a tentative return date for the suspended 2019-20 season: July 30.
While the location, format and teams involved in the restart appear to be settled, there are still a few unknowns. For one thing, the Lakers team that played its last game March 10 probably won't look quite the same as the one that will take to the court in Orlando, Florida.
It's possible teams will be able to bring more players to help out with the possibility of injuries or other players getting sick. Some players, like Lakers center Dwight Howard, are concerned the NBA's return might be a distraction and may not take part in the season's conclusion.
So even if the restart does come together, teams could be looking to bring in reinforcements if possible. The Lakers might even bring back a player who has yet to suit up for the team.
DeMarcus Cousins signed with the Lakers ahead of the season but tore his ACL in August. He was then waived in February in order to make room for Markieff Morris. Boogie is an injured free agent, but the postponed season has given him extra time to get back to full strength. And even though the Lakers dropped him, it's possible they might be able to bring back ultra-talented big man in what could be a strange and difficult championship run.
The Orange County Register's Kyle Goon said it's "definitely a possibility" when appearing on Spectrum SportsNet:
Goon mentions the fact that Cousins was allowed to continue his rehabilitation using Lakers facilities, calling it a "nice little tightrope walk for Rob Pelinka and the Lakers front office to keep Boogie attached," essentially solidifying the team's good relationship with him.
As Bleacher Report's Eric Pincus notes, Cousins is eligible to re-sign with the Lakers because he wasn't traded and then cut, and at least one former NBA executive believes the Purple and Gold are still the best fit for the big man: "That's the only team. He respects [LeBron James], and he's [Anthony Davis'] boy. [Other teams] don't want that distraction. There's a small window of time to play, and you can't let up."
Cousins hasn't played competitive basketball since the 2019 NBA Finals, but there's no doubt he's a force of nature when healthy. The four-time All-Star was a leader for the Sacramento Kings, learned to play alongside Anthony Davis with the New Orleans Pelicans and was a fine contributor during an injury-plagued 2018-19 season with the Golden State Warriors (16.3 points, 8.2 rebounds in 48 regular-season games). If the Lakers did bring him back to play in July, Cousins would be playing very limited minutes, but he's talented enough to make the most of them.
While L.A. has an established relationship with Cousins, it wouldn't be the only suitor for him. Pincus mentions the Los Angeles Clippers as a possibility, but just about any team that could use frontcourt help and has an open roster spot could (and should) be inquiring about Cousins' health and willingness to play.
The Lakers probably have an inside track to signing Cousins, and they shouldn't take their relationship with him for granted if they feel he can help them secure a title.