DeMarcus Cousins Rumors: Trail Blazers Won't Consider Signing Ex-Rockets Center

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistMarch 9, 2021

Houston Rockets' DeMarcus Cousins plays during an NBA basketball game against the Philadelphia 76ers, Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2021, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
Matt Slocum/Associated Press

The Portland Trail Blazers reportedly "will not consider" free-agent center DeMarcus Cousins following his release from the Houston Rockets in late February. 

Jason Quick of The Athletic reported Tuesday that Blazers general manager Neil Olshey is seeking a player who will "unquestionably be in the rotation for the remainder of the season," but the team also wants to keep any additional salary they take on via trade or signing under $1.8 million to remain below the NBA's luxury tax.

Cousins averaged 9.6 points, 7.6 rebounds and 2.4 assists across 25 appearances (11 starts) for the Rockets after signing with the team in December. He struggled with offensive efficiency in the most limited role of his career, shooting just 37.6 percent from the field.

The 30-year-old University of Kentucky product was one of the NBA's top centers during his prime, which included winning a gold medal with Team USA at the 2016 Summer Olympics.

His last standout statistical campaign came in 2017-18 with the New Orleans Pelicans when he averaged 25.2 points, 12.9 rebounds, 5.4 assists, 2.2 threes and 1.6 blocks in 48 games.

He then suffered a torn Achilles with the Pelicans in January 2018 and a torn ACL with the Los Angeles Lakers in August 2019.

"Man, I feel incredible," Cousins told reporters in December. "Obviously, it was a tough task mentally, physically, but at the same time I was able to rest my body, a much-needed rest. Coming back off of that has been incredible. My body is in a great place, my mind is in a great place, and I'm just ready to get back on the floor and play basketball, play the game I love."

He might have made a nice short-term addition for the Blazers, but his spot in the rotation would be less certain once Jusuf Nurkic returns from a wrist injury.

In turn, Olshey's desire to find a player to fill the team's open roster spot who can make a consistent impact for the second half of the regular season and a potential playoff run takes Cousins out of the running.

Portland will likely seek a wing player with outside shooting ability instead, per Quick.

The Blazers can try to make a trade before the March 25 deadline and, if that doesn't materialize, then the buyout market should become more active in the subsequent weeks.

Portland returns from the All-Star break Thursday when it hosts the Phoenix Suns.