The Los Angeles Lakers title chances took a hit on Thursday when news broke that center DeMarcus Cousins tore the ACL in his left knee while working out in Las Vegas on Monday.
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski confirmed the news through agent Jeff Schwartz.
Wojnarowski also added that Cousins suffered the injury after “bumping knees” with another player. He is now likely to miss the majority—if not all—of the upcoming season.
Cousins signed a one-year, $3.5 million deal with the Lakers earlier this summer. He tore his Achilles in 2018 and ended up in Golden State on a $5.3 million deal. Then after missing a good chunk of the regular season, Cousins had to miss most of the playoffs with a torn quad muscle.
The big man was expected to serve a fairly significant role with Los Angeles this season. Anthony Davis and Danny Green were also added to the roster this summer.
Cousins is one of only 11 players in league history to average at least 21 points and 10.9 rebounds per game during his career. He has played nine seasons in the NBA.
The Lakers had the second-shortest odds to win the NBA championship at +430 on 5Dimes as of Wednesday, trailing only the Clippers, who are +400 favorites.
Milwaukee is at +550 and Houston is +650.
As is customary when injury news breaks, the Lakers’ odds are currently off the board. Prior to the Cousins news, their season win total was 52 games.
With Cousins out of the picture, the Lakers will no longer be able to rotate Davis and Cousins at the center position. It also eliminates the possibility of Davis playing at the four and Cousins playing at the five.
Javale McGee is another option that Los Angeles has at the center position. With James’ versatility and Kyle Kuzma’s ability to stretch to the four, the Lakers still have several options, but they have lost some much-needed depth.
The Lakers title odds are unlikely to change too drastically based on Thursday’s news, but another key injury could prove detrimental to their title hopes.