DeMarcus Cousins, Rockets Reportedly Plan to Part Ways After Contract Guarantee

Blake SchusterSenior Analyst IIFebruary 20, 2021

Houston Rockets' DeMarcus Cousins pauses during the fourth quarter against the Miami Heat in an NBA basketball game Thursday, Feb. 11, 2021, in Houston. (Carmen Mandato/Pool Photo via AP)
Carmen Mandato/Associated Press

DeMarcus Cousins will be reaching free agency a bit earlier than expected after signing a one-year deal with the Houston Rockets that only became guaranteed on Friday. 

According to Shams Charania of Stadium and The Athletic, the Rockets plan to "part ways" with Cousins in the near future as the franchise emphasizes youth development for the remainder of the season. 

Shams Charania @ShamsCharania

Cousins has showed he’s healthy and impactful this season. He’s averaged 9.4 points and 7.6 rebounds in 25 games. Sources have expressed positive feedback about Cousins’ professionalism and play during his time in Houston. https://t.co/jWLQpXsrwS

Cousins reportedly made plenty of fans in Houston but no longer fit the team's long-term plans. The move comes as the NBA trade deadline nears and clubs begin plotting a course for the postseason. That may give Cousins an opportunity to join a contender after he proved healthy and durable with the Rockets.

Charania did not explain when the separation would become official. 

It's been a rough few years for the Kentucky product, but Cousins has shown some amazing resilience. After tearing his Achilles in 2018, Cousins suffered an ACL tear in 2019, which left him having played just 30 total regular-season games during the past two years heading into this season.

Houston decided to take a chance on him anyway, reuniting him with college teammate John Wall after the Rockets traded Russell Westbrook to the Washington Wizards. The reunion will apparently be short-lived. 

With emerging players like Christian Wood, Jae-Sean Tate and Danuel House Jr., first-year head coach Stephen Silas will now prioritize their minutes over Cousins' and give the veteran forward the chance to seek playing time elsewhere. 

How long Cousins will remain unemployed is unclear, but he should have no trouble finding potential suitors after proving himself through the first 25 games of the year in Houston.