The news that the Houston Rockets and DeMarcus Cousins are parting ways came as a surprise. The Rockets had just guaranteed Cousins’ contract for the season, their starting center Christian Wood remains injured, and Ray Spalding was lost for the season and promptly released following an Achilles injury.
The Rockets are thin at the center position and allowing Cousins to leave only accentuates that issue. However, the decision makes more sense when his poor play and lack of fit are taken into account.
DeMarcus Cousins wasn’t working in Houston
Watching Cousins go up and down the court this season has been as painful for the viewer as it appears to be painful for him. Once a player who combined brute force with surprising agility and burst, Cousins now moves like a lumbering center from a by-gone era.
There are plenty of teams who play a style that will allow Cousins to thrive but the Rockets are committed to realizing Stephen Silas’ spread pick and roll attack. The lack of fit on the court appears to have been the deciding factor in the Rockets’ thinking.
As part of the Rockets’ explanation for Cousins’ departure is a desire to be younger, smaller, and, presumably, faster in their frontcourt rotation. Finding a player to finish out the season that checks all of those boxes may be difficult but there are a few options that should be available to them.
Depending on how the Rockets decide to move on from Cousins their options could be limited in their pursuit of another frontcourt option. These are five low-cost options that can come in and replace DeMarcus Cousins.