After reports last week suggested the two sides would be parting ways, the Houston Rockets are releasing four-time All-Star center DeMarcus Cousins on Tuesday, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic.
Houston will reportedly try to go smaller and younger in their lineup, with Christian Wood being the lone big man on the floor in most scenarios. The 30-year-old Cousins is averaging 9.6 points, 7.6 rebounds and 2.1 assists per game this season, but has been in and out of the lineup with injury and remains questionable on the defensive end. The Rockets fully guaranteed his $2.3 million salary for this season late last week.
First-year general manager Rafael Stone and rookie head coach Stephen Silas likely tried and failed to find a trade suitor for Cousins, who may now fit a role on one of several teams trying to contend for an NBA title this year.
Chief among those teams are the Los Angeles Lakers, which released reserve guard Quinn Cook on Monday night to open up a roster spot following their third straight defeat, a home overtime loss to the suddenly surging Washington Wizards. L.A. is currently playing LeBron James the most minutes in the league while Anthony Davis is out until at least after the All-Star break with an Achilles injury.
Tuesday marks the first day teams are eligible to sign players to 10-day contracts and all non-guaranteed deals will become guaranteed Wednesday at 5 p.m. eastern. So more teams will have to make decisions on players like Cousins over the next day.
Other teams that could have interest in Cousins include the Boston Celtics, Miami Heat and Golden State Warriors. All three teams could use center depth and an infusion of offense at the position that Boogie could provide. Additionally, the NBA’s trade deadline this season is on March 25.