According to sources inside the NBA, Center Demarcus Cousins and the Houston Rockets have mutually agreed to part ways. Following his release, Cousins can sign with any team in the league for the remainder of the season. Shams Charania of The Athletic first reported the news.
Cousins was averaging 9.6 points and 7.6 rebounds per game in 20 games played with the Rockets this season. His shooting splits haven’t been spectacular (33.6% from three, 74.6% from the free-throw line), but they are consistent with his career averages.
Cousins played a backup role for the Rockets until center Christian Wood went down with an ankle injury. In Woods’ absence, he has stepped up in a big way for the Rockets. In the six games since Woods’ injury, Cousins has averaged 11 points and 9.2 rebounds per game.
While the move is harsh given Cousins’ play this season, it makes sense for the Rockets. The Rockets signed Wood to a three-year deal this past offseason, and Woods’ play has been very promising. Houston will hope to develop Wood, and releasing Cousins will give Wood more minutes once he recovers from his injury. The organization expressed its appreciation for Cousins’ contributions with a move prior to his release. The Rockets announced before his release that they would be guaranteeing the rest of Cousins’ contract. This means that Cousins will receive the full $2.56 million of his veteran’s minimum deal following his release.
Cousins can still be a competent role player for any team in the league. He plays with physicality and, while his shooting numbers aren’t great, teams must respect his shot from beyond the arc. Cousins will likely join a contender as he continues to search for his first career NBA championship.