The Los Angeles Lakers have big decisions to make this offseason. Here’s what they shouldn’t do.
The Los Angeles Lakers are in win-now mode this offseason as they try to capture another NBA title while LeBron James is in town. The 36-year-old has two years left on his current contract, and while he may not be ready for retirement just yet, there are no guarantees he will finish his career as a Laker.
As the Lakers front office considers who else to bring in to keep LeBron happy, here are two of his former teammates the Lakers should avoid at all costs.
1. Matthew Dellavedova
Don’t get us wrong, Matthew Dellavedova played a key role in the Cleveland Cavaliers’ 2016 NBA championship. We’re sure LeBron remembers it well and will always be grateful. Plus, Delly earned himself a huge raise when he signed with the Milwaukee Bucks
With that being said, the gritty guard wound up being overpaid and has never quite gotten back to his 2016 peak. He returned to Cleveland via a trade in December 2018 and re-signed with the Cavaliers in November 2020.
Dellavedova is an unrestricted free agent this summer, and we’re sure he’d love to be reunited with LeBron for another title run. However, even on a veteran minimum contract, we don’t think the Lakers should pursue him. One look at his stats this past season — 2.8 points and 4.5 assists in 17.2 minutes per game over 13 appearances — and you’ll see Dellavedova is declining. The Lakers need to improve their bench scoring and Delly just isn’t the answer.
2. DeMarcus Cousins
DeMarcus Cousins was technically LeBron’s teammate for the build-up to the Lakers’ 2020 NBA championship, but he injured his ACL in an offseason pickup game and never actually suited up for the team.
A four-time All-Star and two-time All-NBA Second Team selection, “Boogie” was a force to be reckoned with during his prime days with the Sacramento Kings. Unfortunately, he’s been quite limited by injuries the past five years. Cousins played 41 games this year with the Houston Rockets and LA Clippers, averaging just 8.9 points per game while shooting 42.6 percent from the field — both career lows by a significant degree.
The 30-year-old will be an unrestricted free agent this offseason and will likely be available on the cheap. However, given his struggles with injuries and declining play, it’s still not worth the risk for the Lakers.