NBA: Rockets and DeMarcus Cousins Agree to Part Ways

The Houston Rockets traded James Harden to the Brooklyn Nets in January. Now the NBA team will move forward without another member of the roster. The Rockets and DeMarcus Cousins have reportedly agreed to part ways after less than half a season together.

The Athletic's Shams Charania provided the news on Saturday evening. He said that the Rockets want to get smaller and younger in the coming weeks. Parting ways with Cousins will help them achieve this goal, especially with Christian Wood returning to the lineup after the All-Star break. Cousins, on the other hand, will have the opportunity to compete for a ring with a different team.

Prior to the season, Cousins signed a one-year, $2.3 million deal, which the Rockets fully guaranteed on Friday. 2020-21 marked his first year back in the league after recovering from an ACL injury. He has appeared in 25 games for the Rockets while mostly coming off the bench. Cousins has averaged 9.6 points and 7.6 rebounds during these appearances.

Cousins spoke about his recovery from the injury during an appearance on Season 4 of Kevin Hart's Cold As Balls interview show. "I'm pretty close to being 100%. Working my tail off every day," Cousins told Hart. "The pandemic did not stop my process at all. I’m going to be ready to go for next year."

The veteran NBA player previously missed the end of the 2018-19 season with the Golden State Warriors due to a torn Achilles. He attempted to return to the starting lineup as a member of the Los Angeles Lakers in 2019-20 but dealt with the torn ACL. His goal during the offseason was to return to full strength and help the Rockets compete for a title. Now that goal will shift after he and the Texas team part ways.

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When the news surfaced that Cousins would not be in Houston for much longer, they began expressing opinions about where he should go. Some called for the Lakers to bring Cousins to town and bolster an already strong roster. Others said that he would be a perfect fit in the Raptors' locker room.

"The Lakers will be among the teams to pursue DeMarcus Cousins," The Ringer's Kevin O'Connor reported on Saturday. "The market will be limited for Cousins, sources say. He has struggled this year after returning from multiple major injuries. But for LA or any team in need of big man depth, few options bring higher upside."