It’s been a pretty wild NBA offseason so far, but after last weekend’s free agency frenzy, it seemed like we just had one (very important) domino remaining: where would Kawhi Leonard land?
Last night we got our answer, as he joined the Clippers. And then, almost instantly, the league was thrown into even more chaos, as news broke that Paul George would be joining Leonard in Los Angeles. No one saw that coming. Now, hours later, we have the Lakers trying to sift through remaining free agents to slot in around LeBron and Anthony Davis. The Lakers: they moved quickly last night to add Danny Green, and today they’ve also added DeMarcus Cousins, on a very affordable deal that reunites him with Davis, his former Pelicans teammate.
Free agent center DeMarcus Cousins has agreed to a one-year deal with the Lakers, agent Jeff Schwartz of Excel Sports tells ESPN.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) July 6, 2019
That duo was very, very good together in a limited run, before Cousins went down injured. That injury led to his rehab discount deal with Golden State last season, which looked promising until he tore his quad late in the year.
Now Cousins signs another one-year deal, for $2.3 million, for the chance to again boost his free agency value while playing for a championship contender. (Assuming he can stay healthy, it has a chance at being tremendous value for the Lakers, too, while also getting Cousins back to free agency next summer when the market looks to be a lot more favorable to him.) The Lakers are also bringing back Rajon Rondo (another member of that Pelicans squad) on a two-year deal. As Caitlin Cooper pointed out, it’s as though the Lakers are adding LeBron to that New Orleans team.
Then, persuade Mirotic to come back over from Europe by promising him that he won’t be traded, benched, or punched.
— Caitlin Cooper (@C2_Cooper) July 6, 2019
These are solid additions around LeBron and Davis; Green’s shooting and defense should make him a perfect wing option, soaking up open-looks from LeBron/Davis pick-and-rolls while allowing LeBron to defend the weakest opposing wing. Rondo helps with that defensive load as well, while Cousins, when healthy, offers a bruising post presence and another instinctive player who should mesh well with LeBron (and has proven capable of meshing with Davis.)
Still, the Lakers offseason, no matter how well it’s gone for the near-term, was instantly overshadowed last night by their own neighbors. Not only did the Lakers not end up with the player they sacrificed most of their offseason to recruit, but the Clippers added Paul George out of nowhere, a player many expected to join LeBron in gold and purple last year. On top of that, the Clippers surrounding cast of Patrick Beverly, Lou Williams, Montrezl Harrell, Moe Harkless, and more makes them a much more formidable team right now.
The Lakers added Anthony Davis to LeBron James and the Clippers are going to come out of this summer as the Western Conference title favorites. That’s going to take some time to sink in.