Reports surfaced on Saturday that the Houston Rockets and DeMarcus Cousins had mutually agreed to part ways. Days later, the team officially made the move and released the four-time All-Star. Cousins will now have the opportunity to sign with any NBA team and compete for a ring.
Cousins appeared in 25 games for the Rockets during the season while attempting to make a comeback from multiple injuries. He averaged 9.6 points and 7.6 rebounds while shooting only 37.6% from the floor. Sources told ESPN that Cousins was not happy with his role behind Christian Wood and wanted more playing time. Rockets coach Stephen Silas did not want to play both men together.
"He came here on a non-guaranteed contract," Silas said about Cousins. "Did what he was supposed to do. We rewarded him. We guaranteed his contract because he did those things and we want what's best for him, the ability to choose where he goes next."
"It’s tough. That’s somebody I call my brother," Rockets player John Wall said on Tuesday, per Fox 26's Mark Berman. "Getting to play with him again was what we always wanted in the NBA. It didn’t last as long as we thought it would. The decision that was made is out of my hands. It’s up to the front office. I think he did a hell of a job coming back from an injury. Hopefully, he’ll get another job soon."
Wall joined the Rockets during the offseason after a blockbuster trade. He went to Houston while Russell Westbrook went to the Washington Wizards. Wall expected to spend the season competing on a team next to James Harden and Cousins, but both men are now gone.
Cousins has struggled with injuries in recent seasons, keeping him away from the court. He ruptured his Achilles tendon during the 2017-18 season while a member of the New Orleans Pelicans. He recovered and signed with the Golden State Warriors but tore his quadriceps muscle during the 2018-19 season. He attempted to make a comeback once again for the 2019-20 season and joined the Los Angeles Lakers. However, he tore his ACL before suiting up with LeBron James and the other players.
There are rumors that Cousins will reunite with the Lakers after his release from the Rockets. The California-based team will reportedly waive Quinn Cook, which would open a spot for Cousins on the roster. Though Brad Turner of the Los Angeles Times disputed the reports and said that the Lakers are not planning on a reunion.