Before moving to the Pelicans, life was going smoothly for DeMarcus Cousins. He had been steadily improving from his rookie year on the Sacramento Kings, eventually averaging 27.8 points per game in the first half of the 2016-2017 NBA season. Despite having a history of anger issues on the court (notably in the 2012-2013 season where he was suspended by the NBA for confronting Spurs announcer Sean Elliott and again by the Kings for “unprofessional behavior”), Cousins was a bona fide star in the league and a centerpiece for the Kings and by far their best player on the court. After six and a half seasons with Cousins, the Kings decided to move on and he was traded to the New Orleans Pelicans and his spiral out of the league began.
Boogie was playing with Anthony Davis on the Pelicans, and while his numbers dipped as a result, he seemed just as dominant on the court. However, his luck seemed to be wearing thin in early 2018 when he tore his left Achilles tendon, leading to a cold free agency period. Cousins turned down a two year, $40 million contract from the Pelicans only to land a minimum deal with the then-champion Golden State Warriors. After a fairly successful, albeit short, regular season with the Warriors, Cousins again got injured during the first round of the playoffs. He tore his quadriceps muscle in his left leg and got sidelined for the majority of the playoffs. Returning in the Finals, Cousins averaged only 8.3 points per game and couldn’t help his team win against the Raptors, who won the series in 6 games. This failed attempt at ring-chasing and second injury marked the beginning of his downwards spiral this summer.
Cousins landed on the Los Angeles Lakers in the off-season, joining LeBron James and former Pelicans teammate Anthony Davis. By mid-July, he looked to have lost weight and was shaping up to have a solid supporting role in L.A.’s roster alongside veteran Rajon Rondo (another former Pelicans teammate) and former Raptor Danny Green. It looked like Boogie was finally cleaning up his act and preparing to have a healthy season, but his left leg gave out again as he went for a routine layup in a scrimmage and he tore his ACL. This injury became his third major injury he has sustained on his left leg and will ensure he will be out for most, if not all, of the NBA season.
Cousins is well known for his regular tantrums on the court and subsequent ejections. In his career, Cousins has been ejected 14 times, including an ejection from Golden State’s bench before he even played a game with the team. His anger issues seem to be reaching a fever point, as TMZ released a leaked voice recording of Cousins threatening his ex after she refused to let his son attend his wedding, saying he would “put a bullet through [her] ****ing head.” Cousins has an arrest warrant out in Alabama for a third-degree harassing communications charge, but his recent ACL surgery means that he is not able to fly to Alabama to turn himself in. Although he is unlikely to serve time for the misdemeanor, his anger issues on the court have clearly translated to his personal life.
The Lakers have now signed veteran Dwight Howard to replace the injured Cousins, likely leaving the former All-Star out of the league. Boogie’s bad luck with injuries and inability to solve his anger issues seem to have doomed him, a far cry from the promising Kings player from just a few years back.