Sources tell Charania that the team wants to utilize a smaller and younger approach in the frontcourt once Christian Wood returns from an ankle injury. Making a move now will give Cousins plenty of time to catch on with another team.
Houston announced Friday that it would guarantee Cousins’ veteran minimum contract for the rest of the season. That means any team that claims him off waivers would inherit the remaining portion of the $2.56MM deal.
Sources confirmed to Mark Berman of KRIV-TV in Houston that Cousins will be traded or waived in the next few days (Twitter link). The front office gave him the salary guarantee as a show of appreciation “for his professionalism and how he went about his business,” Berman adds.
Cousins joined the Rockets in training camp on a non-guaranteed contract, hoping to prove he could still be effective after three serious leg injuries. He appeared in 25 games, making 11 starts, and averaged 9.6 points and 7.6 rebounds while shooting 37.6% from the floor.
Several teams will likely be interested in adding the 30-year-old for the second half of the season. Cousins spent much of last year with the Lakers, although he wasn’t able to play because of an ACL injury, and continued to work out with the team after being waived in February. He played the previous season with the Warriors, who are short-handed in the middle after a recent run of injuries. The Nets, who have been looking for center help in free agency after parting with Jarrett Allen in the James Harden deal, also figure to be interested.