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Can DeMarcus Cousins give Lakers a boost when the NBA resumes?

DeMarcus Cousins could help the Lakers improve their title odds as the NBA nears a 2020 restart.

DeMarcus Cousins of the Los Angeles Lakers shoots the ball during work out prior to the start of a basketball game against the Memphis Grizzlies at Staples Center on February 21, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

The Los Angeles Lakers (+250) are even with the Milwaukee Bucks as favorites to win this year’s NBA Finals, but they could get be getting some reinforcements that could make them more of a threat before the regular season returns in the form of DeMarcus Cousins.

Cousins hasn’t played this season because of a torn ACL he suffered in August and was released in February to make room for Markeiff Morris. The NBA is considering allowing the 22 teams still competing for a title to sign replacement players should positive coronavirus tests or serious injuries become a problem in Orlando when the postseason starts though. That makes Cousins a prime candidate to join the team down the stretch.

Cousins has remained close to the team since his release and has been rehabbing at the Lakers’ facilities. If rosters are expanded, signing Cousins would be one of the easiest moves Los Angeles could make — especially with Dwight Howard pushing back against the NBA’s proposed playoff format. Coach Frank Vogel said Cousins was working toward being healthy for the playoffs during All-Star Weekend, so the being available on this adjusted timeline shouldn’t be a problem.

Cousins was expected to form a big three with LeBron James and Anthony Davis ahead of the 2019-20 season before his injury and this the second straight year spent missing significant time. He spent most of 2018-19 with the Golden State Warriors recovering from a torn Achilles. If the he’s able to the get close to the 16.3 points and 8.2 rebounds he averaged last year, he’s sure to boost the Lakers’ title odds.

If Los Angeles’ main frontcourt rotation — including Davis, JaVale McGee, and Howard — loses a player, Cousins could establish himself as the right man to fill in.

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