It has been an interesting offseason for the Houston Rockets to say the least. Russell Westbrook levied a trade request after just one year in Houston and that was followed shortly by James Harden likewise pushing for a trade, specifically to the Brooklyn Nets.
For now, both Westbrook and Harden remain on the Rockets and the team has said publicly it is happy to start the season with both despite the potential for it to be uncomfortable and awkward — in honesty, this is the only position they can take to maintain any semblance of leverage in trade talks. Still, the moves they’ve made since have been in the unenviable position of maximizing assets and trying to thread the needle between starting a rebuild and not putting a big “Fire Sale” sign out front.
They’ve dealt Robert Covington to the Blazers and flipped two-thirds of the return to the Pistons (Trevor Ariza and the 16th overall pick) to give them a pair of future, protected first round picks. From there they’ve signed Christian Wood in free agency, and added another big man in DeMarcus Cousins on Monday on a non-guaranteed one-year deal, per Shams Charania of The Athletic.
Cousins himself confirmed the news to Marc Spears of the Undefeated shortly after Charania’s initial report.
The Rockets showed interest in DeMarcus Cousins since the beginning of free agency. The free agent big man signs a one-year contract, Cousins confirms to @TheUndefeated.
— Marc J. Spears (@MarcJSpears) November 23, 2020
The question with Cousins is, of course, with his health after having suffered an Achilles tear and a ruptured quadriceps tendon. Still, it’s a low-risk move, similar to what L.A. did with Dwight Howard’s non-guaranteed deal last year, by a Rockets team that could use some upside — and there’s also the possibility that the discussed Westbrook-John Wall deal could get done reuniting the good friends and Kentucky teammates in Houston.