Multiple reports surfaced late Wednesday night that the Milwaukee Bucks are planning to release center DeMarcus Cousins before Friday’s deadline. Cousins had proved to be a very great pickup for the Bucks, averaging 9 points per game, 6 rebounds per game, and 1 assist per game during his tenure in Milwaukee. Cousins is also reported to have “multiple suitors” that will be interested in signing the veteran big man as teams start to prepare and ready their rosters for the playoffs. However, for the Bucks, could waiving the veteran big man ultimately be a good thing? I believe there are multiple reasons why the Bucks chose to move on from Cousins.
Reason 1: Flexibility for the Trade Deadline
The Milwaukee Bucks reportedly want to have an open roster spot as the trade deadline looms closer and closer. The Bucks could be looking to add a player that may bring more to the table than Cousins actually did. Myles Turner, the current starting center for the Indiana Pacers has been arguably the biggest name when it comes to the center trade market. Turner is an elite defender and an even better shot blocker, who over the years has developed a very decent three-point shot.
Another possible option is the three-point marksman of the Sacramento Kings, Buddy Hield. Hield would not only fit the Bucks system of heavy three-point shooting, but he also has improved his perimeter defense over the past couple of seasons. Lastly, the Bucks could choose to bring back Robin Lopez to reunite him with his older brother. Lopez has developed a dominant inside post-game that features his patented hook shot. Any of these options are plausible for the Bucks front office to pursue, but only time will tell.
Reason 2: The Bucks could always sign Cousins back later
Just because the Bucks chose to waive Cousins does not mean he could not be resigned after the trade deadline passes. If the Bucks do not reach any agreements to trade for any help before or on the day of the deadline, then do not be surprised if GM Jon Horst gives Cousins a call to come to be a Buck once again. You could make a very strong argument that other than Pat Connaughton, DeMarcus Cousins has been the best pickup the Bucks have made this season, and I’m sure it was hard for the front office to have to waive him in the first place. However, nether-the-less, Cousins could always reach another agreement with the Bucks in the future that would keep him on the team for the Bucks’ future playoff run.
Reason 3: Preparation for Brook Lopez’s Return
Brook Lopez has missed virtually the entire season so far after having back surgery earlier this season, but maybe the release of DeMarcus Cousins is a sign that Lopez could return sooner rather than later. Through the Bucks’ success in recent seasons, Lopez has been a defensive anchor in the paint and has received votes in past years for Defensive Player of the Year. Even more impressive though have been his developments on the offensive side of the ball. Lopez is not only an impressively lethal three-point shooter for his size, but last season really seemed to develop a dominant inside post-game.
Not only would Lopez come back and be right back in the starting lineup, but that would move Bobby Portis, who is having an incredible season so far, back to his bench role that helped the Bucks capture an NBA title. Maybe the Bucks organization knows a lot more than we do, and in that case, maybe we should be preparing for a Brook Lopez return very soon.
Reason 4: Maybe, Just Maybe… It’s Right
If you looked at DeMarcus Cousins statistics for the Bucks this season during his short tenure, he has not only been a great pickup, but he has had some huge performances… including multiple double-doubles. However, what if the Bucks front office and coaching staff just think that cutting Cousins is best for the team? That would be crazy right? Not so fast.
What if the team chemistry has been thrown off a little more than we actually think? What if Cousins really doesn’t fit what Mike Budenholzer wants to accomplish on the floor as a team? Maybe Cousins doesn’t have a great connection with the players and coaches off the court. We will never know, but there could always be other reasons inside the organization for waiving Cousins, but we will never know.
The Bucks have been fortunate to have DeMarcus Cousins for the past month or so as he has brought some valuable experience and knowledge to the Bucks as a team. No matter what finally happens between Cousins, the Bucks, and the rest of the NBA teams… Cousins was undoubtedly another great pickup by the Bucks front office.