Lakers add DeMarcus Cousins and Rajon Rondo to already potent lineup

Lakers guard Rajon Rondo drives to the basket against 76ers center Joel Embiid during a game last season.
(Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)

After missing out on Kawhi Leonard, the Lakers set right to work filling their roster on Saturday.

They added two familiar faces for pending Laker Anthony Davis. DeMarcus Cousins and Rajon Rondo agreed to terms with the Lakers, both having played with Davis on the New Orleans Pelicans.

They also agreed to terms with point guards Quinn Cook and Alex Caruso as well as center JaVale McGee.

Cousins, 28, agreed to a one-year deal, the terms of which are unclear. The 6-foot-11, 270-pound veteran of six NBA campaigns spent last season on a one-year deal with the Golden State Warriors as he recovered from an Achilles tendon tear he sustained the year before. Cousins didn’t play until mid-January but started in all 30 games he played for the Warriors, averaging 16.3 points and 8.2 rebounds in a little more than 21 minutes per game.


Cousins also missed a significant portion of the playoffs this spring with a torn quadriceps muscle.

His history with Davis dates to February 2016. The day Cousins played in the All-Star game representing the Sacramento Kings, he was traded to the Pelicans. He and Davis spent a season and a half together.

Before Cousins’ Achilles injury, many people thought he was having his best season, averaging 25.2 points, 12.9 rebounds, 5.4 assists, 1.6 steals and 1.6 blocked shots during his 48 games.

Rondo, 33, returns after spending last season with the Lakers. Though he had two injuries that kept him out for an extended period of time, Rondo averaged 9.2 points, 5.3 rebounds and 8.0 assists in nearly 30 minutes and was seen as a calming veteran presence for a young Lakers team. LeBron James often raved about his basketball intelligence.

Rondo, a veteran of 13 NBA seasons, will sign a two-year deal for the veteran minimum after playing on a one-year deal last season.

Caruso, 25, has played parts of two seasons with the Lakers on two-way deals, which only allow players to spend 45 days with their NBA teams. He appeared in 62 games for the Lakers.

The 6-5 point guard was a mainstay during the final portion of last season when the Lakers were riddled with injuries, averaging 9.2 points, 3.1 assists and 2.7 rebounds in 25 games. He shot 44.5% from the field and 48% from three-point range. He agreed to a two-year deal worth $5.5 million.

Cook and the Lakers agreed to a two-year, $6-million deal, while McGee will get a two-year contract for $8.5 million, according to people with knowledge of the deal who were not authorized to speak publicly on the matter.


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Cook, 26, gives the Lakers firepower off the bench. The 6-foot-2 guard is a three-year NBA veteran who won a championship with the Warriors in 2018.

In 74 games with the Warriors last season, he averaged 6.9 points and shot 46.5% from the field, 40.5% from three-point range. He has made 41.8% of his three-pointers over a three-year career.

McGee, 31, has 11 seasons of NBA experience. The 7-foot, 270-pound center was a backup center for the Lakers last season, when he averaged 8.0 points and 5.1 rebounds in 17.4 minutes.


Follow Tania Ganguli on Twitter @taniaganguli

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