DeMarcus Cousins only got $3.5 million to sign with the Los Angeles Lakers this offseason. That is a paltry salary for a former All-Star, but Cousins has such a long history of injuries that teams were simply afraid to make a long-term investment in him financially. Cousins tore his Achilles tendon playing for the New Orleans Pelicans in 2018. He came back as a member of the Golden State Warriors and played well before tearing his quad in the postseason. He returned for the NBA Finals, but was clearly playing at less than 100 percent. Durability is the greatest concern for Cousins at this point in his career.
That is why he is making it a point of emphasis this season. He revealed in his first media appearance as a Laker Wednesday that his quad is 100 percent healed, and that his goal for next season is to play in all 82 games.
While that is an admirable goal, Cousins' history indicates that it is quite unlikely. He played in 81 games as a rookie, but has never topped 75 since. Even before rupturing his Achilles, he played in 59, 65 and 72 games in the three previous seasons. Cousins is a remarkable physical specimen when it comes to size and strength, but conditioning has never been his strong suit. He is the sort of player that teams expect to miss a few games here and there.