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Report: Rockets signing DeMarcus Cousins

Rockets center DeMarcus Cousins

HOUSTON, TX - MAY 6: DeMarcus Cousins #0 of the Golden State Warriors looks on against the Houston Rockets during Game Four of the Western Conference Semifinals of the 2019 NBA Playoffs on May 6, 2019 at the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2019 NBAE (Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)

NBAE via Getty Images

The Rockets want to remain in championship contention. But they have an expensive, aging core and a depleted stock of draft picks. Stars James Harden and Russell have reportedly requested trades.

So, Houston will take a swing on DeMarcus Cousins.

Shams Charania of The Athletic:

Just a few years ago, Cousins was one of the NBA’s most talented centers.

But he has since torn his Achilles, torn his quad and torn his ACL. The 30-year-old’s athleticism is likely severely diminished. Plus, he has missed significant time for training.

It’s telling Cousins couldn’t get even a guaranteed minimum contract.

So, while this is a low-risk, high-reward proposition for Houston, it’s far more likely to produce minimal returns.

Beyond on-court considerations, there are also chemistry concerns. Cousins has a history of attitude problems, and the Rockets already have cultural issues. This situation is combustible.

Still, Cousins’ theoretical talent is tantalizing. What if he returns to form? That could be just the jolt the Rockets need. Even as a big-name acquisition, Cousins could impress Harden enough to buy Houston more time with Harden’s trade request.

But don’t get too enchanted with fantasy. Lower-profile Christian Wood is the Rockets’ top acquisition of the offseason.