It is just a matter of when, not if, the Houston Rockets and DeMarcus Cousins are going to part ways. Last week, the Rockets guaranteed Cousins’ deal for the remainder of the NBA season, and a day later, it was mentioned in NBA rumors that the two sides would eventually part ways.
The Rockets will work on trading him, but if that cannot be done, they will release him so that he can find a better opportunity for themselves. The Rockets want to do good by the free agents they sign, which is something that future free agents will remember when considering Houston with other landing spots.
In addition to that, the Rockets are looking to go smaller and younger in their frontcourt once Christian Wood returns from injury, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic. As Charania also points out, Cousins has proved that he is healthy this season. He just doesn’t fit with the Rockets’ long-term plans.
The potential landing spots for Cousins are plentiful. Contenders will assuredly line up for him after the glowing review he received from the Rockets and with how pleased the Los Angeles Lakers were with him during his time there. The Lakers are one of the teams, along with the Miami Heat, that are interested in acquiring him whether it is via trade or after he is released.
Another landing spot to keep an eye on is the Toronto Raptors. Toronto had a lot of production to fill in the frontcourt with the departures of Marc Gasol and Serge Ibaka. Cousins would help replace the production if they are able to land him.
The Raptors have been one of the teams mentioned as a landing spot for Andre Drummond, so they are clearly in the market for another center. After releasing Alex Len, they have been using Aron Baynes and Chris Boucher at the five spot.
Cousins would bring a more diverse skill set than Drummond would. Drummond has gaudy rebounding numbers, but he doesn’t space the floor. Cousins would bring some floor spacing and playmaking to the frontcourt, similarly to what Gasol provided.
The Toronto Raptors are hovering around the .500 mark and could use some help to push them toward a playoff spot. While Cousins isn’t the same player he was a few years ago, he is still capable of helping out a team with spot minutes.