DeMarcus Cousins scored 15 points and took 10 rebounds in the Milwaukee Bucks’ 117-111 loss to the Toronto Raptors on Wednesday. Shortly after, he learned he would be kicked out of the squad.
Milwaukee general manager Jon Horst told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski that the Bucks will give up on Cousins before his contract is guaranteed. Cousins joined the team on a one-year veteran minimum contract on November 30.
Horst told ESPN: “We couldn’t have gotten through this difficult part of the season as successfully as we did without DeMarcus. In the end, we made the strategic decision to have a vacancy. , but there is nothing that would prevent us from partnering with DeMarcus again on the road. He was so good to us, and I hope we helped him too. “
All unsecured contracts will become guaranteed on Monday January 10. In order for players on such deals to clear waivers before that date, teams must cut them before 5 p.m. on Friday, January 7. deal guaranteed on Dec. 3, is expected to remain on the list after the deadline.
In 17 games with Milwaukee, Cousins averaged 9.1 points, 5.8 rebounds and 1.1 assists in 16.9 minutes per game. The 31-year-old shot just 13 for 48 (27.1%) from a distance of 3 points and averaged 5.8 fouls per 36 minutes, but he managed a career-high 60% in the inside the arch and helped the Bucks on the glass.
Cousins’ replacement may already be on the list. Luke Kornet signed a 10-day contract on Monday. The Bucks are unlikely to simply fill their vacant position in the immediate future, however. Keeping it open gives the front office more flexibility by the February 10 trading deadline.
Recent history suggests that the reigning champions will at least make a win-now move on the trade deadline or the buyback market. Last season they traded for PJ Tucker and knocked Jeff Teague out of the scrapyard. In 2020, they sign Marvin Williams, the beauty of the redemption ball. In 2019, they traded for Nikola Mirotic before their untimely signing from Pau Gasol.
Brook Lopez, the departure center from Milwaukee, underwent back surgery in December. In his absence, Bobby Portis thrived in a starting role and Giannis Antetokounmpo played a lot more center than ever. Cousins’ departure suggests that Kornet will have a chance and that Antetokounmpo could spend even more time there.