Antoine Walker reveals why Lakers made a ‘huge mistake’ not signing DeMarcus Cousins

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NBA Champion Antoine Walker joins Cris Carter, Nick Wright and Jenna Wolfe to discuss reports the Los Angeles Lakers turned down chance to sign DeMarcus Cousins to a one-year deal.

ANTONIE WALKER: They made a huge mistake. And the reas-- the reason why I say that, if you look at the DNA in the history of LeBron James, he's played well. His two championships, obviously leaving Kevin Love, who was a stretch floor, center type of guy. But also Chris Bosh, he needs one of those type of guys on his team.

And that's-- that's what DeMarcus Cousins brings to you on the offensive end. His ability to stretch the floor, be a presence inside, and then you got to look at his career numbers. This is a guy that can average 25-- I mean 21 points a game as a career, but last year, 20 of your 48 games, 25 points and 13 rebounds. LeBron James needs another star alongside of him.

And if you want to go against Golden State, he would have been a perfect fit for him because he brings toughness. And you've got a one year deal-- you got to think about it, you got a one year deal, if it doesn't work, you don't lose anything. Five-- it's going to be $5.3 million, you don't lose much from it.

And if you get in with LeBron, LeBron's a great teammate. LeBron could have that type of influence on him that can change him. And if you got the idea you're going to bring in Rajon Rondo, who could be the icing on the cake, Rajon just played with him. Rajon went to the University of Kentucky. Rajon's a guy that can get in his head, that can talk to him. That can get him on the right [INAUDIBLE] how-- how to play.

And if it doesn't work, you only-- you written him for a year. You've got to-- you've got to try to figure out some pieces to put when LeBron James if you want to win this thing.

NICK WRIGHT: I agree you have to figure out some pieces to put with LeBron James. My concern, if I'm the Lakers, and Boogie-- Boogie Cousins, pardon me. Does adding Boogie, if they could have added Boogie, make it harder to get Kawhi Leonard and get Kawhi Leonard long term?

If what we're hearing from-- C started this. And now we've heard other people, Shams Charania talked about it on "The Herd" yesterday, that Kawhi is not necessarily so into the super team thing. It's not that he wouldn't want to play with LeBron, but that he doesn't think that the guy that he compared himself most to, or people around him compared himself most to his Russell Westbrook. I can be a draw of people.

We also know Kawhi he doesn't like a lot of, what you would call, circus. A lot of noise around the team. There's going to be noise surrounding the team with LeBron no matter what.

- Right.

- And I have real concern about whether or not Boogies going-- would be happy in any situation on a one year, under market value contract that isn't Golden State, where he is essentially sacrificing money to go walk into a ring. For all those reasons, I don't think it's quite as simple. And that's not even to mention that you're not going to have him till Christmas. I don't think it's quite as simple as you're making it out to be.

ANTONIE WALKER: Well, you've got to eventually add pieces with LeBron James. You've got an opportunity to add a 27 - 28 year old guy, who's arguably the top 15 player in this league. You've got a chance to try him out. You get a free try on basically for $5 million.

I'm not worried about Kawhi Leonard at this point. Kawhi Leonard is probably next year. But I get to put him with my young core. See if it can fit, see if it can mix. If it don't, it doesn't hurt me going into 2019. I still got to put pieces around him. The 2019 class ain't that great.

CRIS CARTER: No, but what if-- what if-- what if the Lakers and their theory was, OK we'll let him try out with Golden State. Because we are not competing with Golden State this year. We've got LeBron for four years.

What about, we put him with Cousins in year '19, '20, and '21.

[INTERPOSING VOICES]

CRIS CARTER: Because-- because you're only going to have him for one season. And that season being abbreviated. Now, I like the fact of having Rondo on the roster because if Cousins is healthy, Rondo's already on the roster. All I got to do is give him another one year deal and I can go out and get Cousins next year after we have seen him come back from that injury. You have to be concerned about that Achilles injury.

The only reason why he's on a one year deal is because that Achilles injury. And I believe that the Lakers, if you want Boogie, and I do believe that the stretch fours and fives, they have helped LeBron. But, this is not the most important year as far as competing against Golden State. I believe next year and the year after that where they will really have an opportunity.

ANTONIE WALKER: That's why-- that's why you take that chance because it's not that important year.