DeMarcus Cousins hopeful of joining Lakers for playoff run

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- The Los Angeles Lakers were quiet at the trade deadline and have yet to acquire any pieces off the buyout or free-agency market as they prepare for the stretch run. Could four-time All-Star DeMarcus Cousins, yet to play a game this season as he recovers from a torn ACL in his left knee, become an added weapon come playoff time?

Cousins seems to think so.

Appearing as a guest on Showtime's "All the Smoke" podcast with hosts Matt Barnes and Stephen Jackson, Cousins explained what his role could look like in the postseason.

"We got a big team. It's going to be some bump, for sure," Cousins said. "We got so many guys with different abilities. I mean, I can spot up. Bron [LeBron James] is going to draw everybody whenever he decides to move. I'm pretty confident I can knock down the shot. We got shooters all over the floor. I mean, I can playmake. Like, it's pick your poison."

James was asked if the team is thinking about Cousins' eventual return.

"Listen, first, his health is the thing we're mostly engaging in and watching him. And he's progressed every single day, every single month," James said after practice Thursday, the Lakers' first group session following the All-Star break. "To the point where he was limping and now he's actually shooting and actually jumping on the jump shots, and progressing every single day, every single week. He's out there right now, getting his work done.

"We want to continue to stay optimistic about his health. We don't want no setbacks, as he's had before in the last couple years. But his health is most important, and if we can get Cuz anywhere back to what he was capable of doing a couple years ago, it's a plus for us. But there's no pressure on him. There's no pressure on our ballclub to have him out there right away, or whenever that case may be. We want him to be healthy and have a great, clear mind and a great attitude, which he's done since he's gotten here."

Lakers coach Frank Vogel maintained his stance that the team is allowing for the possibility that Cousins returns, but did not go much deeper than that.

"There is no date, and there's really no specifics on it in terms of, I'm not even sure where he's at with exactly what he's doing day to day. I just still know he's a long way away, but they've said they're not ruling out him returning. That's really all I can give you," he said. "I just know he's not close. As he starts getting close, it could be a review thing, because [the training staff will] come to me and let me know."

Cousins could be seen having a discussion with Lakers vice president of basketball operations and general manager Rob Pelinka, as well as with Lakers senior basketball adviser Kurt Rambis, on the turf field across from the Lakers' practice facility Thursday.

Cousins' 66-minute podcast appearance certainly provided plenty of material to talk about.

The 10-year veteran addressed the criminal charges that have since been dropped stemming from an audio recording in which Cousins' ex-girlfriend alleges he threatened to shoot her in the head when it became apparent their child was not going to be present for Cousins' wedding.

"It's an unfortunate situation. So, you know, I had a special moment in my life. I wanted all my family to be there. A little piece of happiness going through whatever I'm going through. Things didn't work out the way I wanted it to for my day. I was little upset. So I said some things I shouldn't have said but that person knew where it was coming from," Cousins said on the podcast. "I mean, I've seen a lot of things, heard a lot of stuff -- don't get me wrong, I'm 100 percent against domestic violence. Like, 100 percent. I watched my mother go through that as a child. So when it comes to that, I'm the first advocate for that. But with that being said, I said the wrong thing. Heat of the moment. We've all done it. ... We've all done it. ...

"My mama's said way worse, you know what I'm saying? But when it comes to your kids, it's a whole other situation and I'm pretty sure anybody with kids can speak on that. But it was still wrong."

ESPN's request to speak to Cousins on Thursday was declined by the Lakers.

Cousins also blamed himself for the August pickup run he participated in when his injury occurred.

"I fly home that day, I went to the gym," he explained on the podcast. "I had just landed. Damn near [cross country]. And I'm like, I don't want to miss no days in the gym. I'm getting into that mode, you know what I'm saying? I don't want to miss no days. So I go to the gym, I get there a little late ... I didn't have no business being out there. I just wanted to get my burn, like something, to make sure that I had a productive day. I had no business out there. Last play. Last basket of the game."

Cousins also praised James for being "a real dude" and revealed that he has tried to convince him to run for political office.

"I told him the other day, I'm like, 'Bro,' ... he's probably going to get pissed [when he hears this]. 'Bro, you need to run for president,'" Cousins said on the podcast. "If there's anybody ... if there's any NBA player to do it: LeBron James.

"And he's going to do it the right way. I mean, obviously that's just me talking and my opinion. He probably feels totally different. But I think he could do it. He has that type of impact, influence and just being a genuine person."

James smiled when Cousins' suggestion was brought up, but won't be looking to hire him as his press secretary anytime soon.

"No, I'm not considering it," James said. "And yes, he's said it a few times as the season's been on. So, nah. I appreciate it."

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