John Wall Says 'It's Tough' to See DeMarcus Cousins Released by Rockets

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistFebruary 23, 2021

Houston Rockets guard John Wall, left, talks with center DeMarcus Cousins, right, before an NBA basketball game against the Washington Wizards, Monday, Feb. 15, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)
Nick Wass/Associated Press

The Houston Rockets reportedly released center DeMarcus Cousins on Tuesday, per Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium, and Rockets point guard John Wall told reporters it was difficult to be separated from his former Kentucky Wildcats teammate after their reunion on the team.

"It's tough. Someone I call my brother," he said. "The decision that was made, that's out of my hands. I think he did a hell of a job coming back from an injury, hopefully he'll get another job soon."

Cousins, 30, has played fairly well for Houston this season, averaging 9.6 points, 7.6 rebounds and 2.4 assists in 20.2 minutes per game. He's made 11 starts for Houston in 25 overall appearances.

But according to ESPN's Tim MacMahon, "Sources said Cousins was not happy with his role as a backup center behind Christian Wood, wanting more playing time. Rockets coach Stephen Silas did not consider playing Wood and Cousins together, as he wants to use Wood solely as a center."

The Rockets signed Wood to a three-year, $41 million contract in the offseason and he's responded by averaging 22 points, 10.2 rebounds, 1.5 blocks and 1.3 assists in 17 games this season. At just 25, he's clearly the center of both the present and the future for Houston. 

"I do think it's a positive thing that it's resolved. Not just for the group but for [Cousins]," Silas told reporters. "We really want what's best for him in this situation as well. For him to have some clarity is very important."

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Cousins would be a good addition for a veteran playoff contender looking to add some scoring and rebounding from the center position. While he's not a great defensive anchor, center-needy teams will likely be interested in Cousins. 

If Cousins is adamant that he wants to be a starter, however, his market may thin. His lack of rim protection makes him a tougher sell as a starting center, as opposed to a jolt of offense and rebounding off the bench in a more limited role. 

Regardless, his time in Houston with his old pal Wall has come to a close.