Lost in the excitement of last night’s win over Detroit was the fact that DeMarcus Cousins finished out his 10-day contract with the Clippers Wednesday. The team has the opportunity to bring him back on another 10-day, which could be worthwhile considering Serge Ibaka remains out with lower back tightness.
Cousins is still the third center behind Patrick Patterson even with Ibaka unavailable, but he provides some optionality. Against Houston, Ty Lue started Cousins in the second quarter with the Clippers down 10 against his former team, and L.A. had essentially wiped away the deficit when his six minutes were up. Against Detroit, Marcus Morris Sr. was also out so Patterson moved to power forward, and Cousins was needed at backup center since the Clippers don’t yet trust Daniel Oturu there. Cousins filled in capably with eight points and three rebounds in 15 minutes.
The expectation is that Cousins will remain with the Clippers because of his ability to step in in case of emergency, and Ty Lue basically confirmed that Cousins will be back in his postgame press conference Wednesday.
“We look forward for him to continue on, he was big for us,” Lue said about Cousins. “The toughest thing is late in the game, it’s hard for us to run plays because he really hasn’t caught up yet as far as the plays because we haven’t had a lot of practice time. So that kind of stumped us a little bit. But his playing, just knowing the game and IQ, to be able to shoot it, to post up, and bring physicality is great for our team. We just gotta bring him up to speed on the playbook just so we can kind of call more sets when he’s in the game.”
The Clippers have been linked to Yogi Ferrell with one of their final roster spots, but if and when Ferrell joins the team, it will probably be in place of Malik Fitts, the Agua Caliente product who hasn’t yet played outside of garbage time. The Clippers have incurred enough good will with Fitts by signing him to this 10-day that they can count on him remaining in their G League program next season; if Ferrell is coming aboard, it will be for Fitts, not Cousins.
Cousins can be signed to one more 10-day deal. Once that is up, the Clippers would have to offer him a contract for at least the remainder of the season. Since the Rockets waived him before April 9, he is eligible to suit up for the Clippers in the playoffs.
More news for Thursday:
- Kawhi Leonard and Terance Mann got some love in Dan Devine’s third-quarter NBA awards.
- Meanwhile, Nekias Duncan shouts out Paul George for getting to the basket during this latest run.
- Jamal Murray’s ACL tear appears to have been an inflection point, as GMs are expressing serious concerns about injuries given the condensed nature of the schedule and all of the health and safety protocols.
- Morten Jensen goes deep on why the Clippers have fallen under the radar.