DeMarcus Cousins’ injury is a massive blow to the Los Angeles Lakers that could impact another big name that has been connected to the team.
When the news broke that Los Angeles Lakers center DeMarcus Cousins tore his ACL, it was absolutely heartbreaking for players, coaches, and fans all around the NBA. After gearing up to land a max contract, he has now endured three major injuries since 2018, costing him over $100 Million and potentially his NBA career.
As devastating as the news was, business must continue for the Los Angeles Lakers, who, even without Cousins, have a team led by LeBron James and Anthony Davis that are still serious contenders for the NBA title.
Once everyone sent out their thoughts and prayers to Cousins, a second Twitter outbreak followed—with one regular-season roster spot available, who will the Lakers sign to replace him? One name that started trending: Carmelo Anthony
Months prior to the Cousins injury, Carmelo Anthony had been rumored to land a spot with the Los Angeles Lakers. Free agency came and went, and Melo was still in search of a new home, following being waived by the Rockets the previous year.
With a roster spot open, why wouldn’t the Lakers take a chance on Melo? The answer: Andre Iguodala. Iggy, who won Finals MVP in 2015, would be the X-factor and perfect player to add to the Lakers; he always makes the right play, hits big shots, plays great defense, and his game would fit in seamlessly with LeBron and Anthony Davis.
It was believed that Iggy would be bought out by the young and rebuilding Grizzlies, but this has not been the case. The Grizzlies have not shown any signs of buying out Iggy, and believe they may be able to trade him for a young asset, something the Lakers are not able to do.
Nevertheless, the Lakers decided to keep a spot open for Iggy. Many Lakers fans believed that if Iggy did not get bought out before the season, the Lakers would wind up singing Carmelo.
Signing Carmelo would come with a risk — would he accept a role off the bench, taking limited shots, and not finish games, but instead being a mentor to younger players like Kyle Kuzma?
Well, after the Cousins injury, many Lakers fans thought we would find out.
If you were hoping the Los Angeles Lakers would sign Melo in light of the Cousins injury, sorry, but you are dead wrong.
Regardless of what value you think of Melo still has in the tank as a player, the DeMarcus Cousins injury all but guarantees he will not play in the Purple & Gold next season.
Obviously, the Lakers lost a center in Cousins, so it would make sense to replace him with another one. However, many people have countered this idea by saying that Anthony Davis should start at the five and have JaVale McGee as the backup center.
While in theory this sounds like a great idea, in reality, it is far from it, for many reasons.
First off is the reliability of Anthony Davis. In his career, Davis has played an average of under 67 games a season. Additionally, none of these missed games were due to a serious injury that caused him to miss the whole season—this past season he posted a career-low by playing 56 games.
If Davis can be expected to miss around 15 games this year, that would make JaVale McGee the only center on the Lakers’ roster. As is, McGee is not the greatest center ever, but asking him to play a ridiculous amount of minutes at the five will not go well.
Yes, the Lakers can play a death line up of five guards and forwards, however, it would most likely consist of James and the five and Kyle Kuzma at the four. That is simply too much of a liability on the defensive end.
And, what if McGee suffers an injury? Then the Lakers would not have one true center on their roster.
It makes much more sense for the Lakers to go after a center with their final roster spot. It will help to rebuild the safety net that was lost when Cousins was injured, and this center would be asked to play significant minutes off the bench.
There is a second reason that the Lakers need to sign a center instead of Melo, and it also has to do with Anthony Davis, but not from a talent perspective.
The Lakers gave up their entire future to trade for Anthony Davis, including Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart, and multiple draft picks, including the 2019 fourth overall pick. They did all of this knowing that Anthony Davis was in the last year of his contract, with the expectation that he would re-sign with the Lakers.
After the trade, Anthony Davis said he would not sign an extension until after the season, which seemed to be more of a formality. However, no one knows exactly what Davis is thinking. With all the drama that went on in the front office over the past year, maybe Davis wants to see if the dysfunction is too far along to fix.
Davis already gave in to helping out the Lakers by waiving his $4 Million trade bonus to clear cap space in hopes to land Kawhi Leonard. It failed. Maybe Davis is already starting to get fed up with the Los Angeles Lakers.
Now, the Lakers are going to go to him and tell him he needs to play the five to do what’s best for the team? Just after he did “what was best for the team” by waiving his trade bonus? That is some shaky territory to enter if you’re the Lakers.
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Anthony Davis has said over and over again that he primarily wants to play the four in this upcoming season. I’m sure in certain situations like at the end of games Davis would be fine playing the five, but the Lakers would be smart to grant his request through signing a center with the final roster spot.
The Lakers cannot lose Anthony Davis, at all costs. It would become the most tragic moment in perhaps Lakers’ history. Not only would the Lakers fail to compete in the near future, but due to the assets they gave up for Davis, there would be a long, miserable road ahead for them.
We’ve seen the New York Knicks, “the mecca of basketball,” become essentially irrelevant. They have not competed for a title in years and just lost out on Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving to the rival Brooklyn Nets. If the Lakers were to lose Anthony Davis, their dysfunctional trend would lead them down a path similar to the Knicks.
Thus, the Lakers cannot sign Carmelo Anthony. Even if the Los Angeles Lakers like the fit ad think he would be a nice addition as the last roster spot, it would not be wise to sign Melo.
Not only would signing a center make more sense on the court, but it would also help to keep Anthony Davis happy, and to ensure he resigns this coming summer.
Sorry Melo fans — Carmelo Anthony and the Purple & Gold do not seem to be a match.