Only 28 games in the 2020-21 season, DeMarcus Cousins is looking for a new team.
The Rockets plan to part ways with the 30-year-old center, according to Athletic’s Shams Charania, who reported on Saturday that Houston wanted to move to a “younger, smaller frontline area” led by off-season acquisition Christian Wood. It was a surprising decision not only because Cousins had started the last seven games after Wood injured his ankle earlier this month, but also because of what had happened just one more day. early.
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Friday afternoon, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski broke the news that Houston had guaranteed Cousins a one-year deal for $ 2.3 million for the remainder of the season. In a small sample, Cousins struggled in defense and never reached the offensive heights of the old “Boogie,” but did manage to play in 25 of 28 contests, averaging 9.6 points, 7.6 rebounds and 2.4 assists per game. The front office seemed to make an easy decision as Cousins was a cheap and usable part of the rotation.
So why did the Rockets make sure the cousins would get paid before ending the short-lived relationship when they never really intended to keep him?
Several reports indicated that Houston wanted to reward Cousins for his constant efforts and professionalism. The four-time All-Star grew into a leadership role with the Rockets and became a mentor for their young players.
From Athletic’s Kelly Iko:
First-year head coach Stephen Silas loved having cousins around. He regularly praised his intangibles and recognized the offensive potential that even a diminished Cousins could bring to his roster. The big man was popular in the locker room, and a host of young players turned to Cousins for advice, perhaps no more than Jae’Sean Tate. But Silas understood it was always going to be an uphill battle to keep the Rockets viable defensively with cousins on the floor.
Aside from doing well through cousins, the Rockets may have also gotten credit in NBA circles for their process. The way organizations choose to treat players, whether good or bad, is noticed throughout the league. Considering that team owner Tilman Fertitta has a reputation for avoiding expenses, it wouldn’t have been great if Houston had put Cousins to the curb without discussing the options.
Now the Rockets will move forward with a small ball strategy as Cousins tries to find an opportunity to play elsewhere. If nothing else, at least he’s leaving Houston on better terms than some former MVP.