The Los Angeles Lakers have stepped up their chase to sign a replacement for DeMarcus Cousins, who is ruled out for most of the 2019-20 campaign with an ACL injury. The Lakers are holding individual workouts for potential candidates in Los Angeles in the coming weeks before making a decision.

Cousins signed a one-year deal with the Lakers but the contract is reportedly more than the veteran’s minimum of $3.5 million. He was expected to make a solid impact for the Lakers alongside LeBron James and Antony Davis but his presence will now be sorely missed going into the season where the purple and gold are being touted as one of the favorites.

The Lakers are keen to bring in a replacement but only have veteran free agents currently available. Dwight Howard seems high on the list and the former Washington Wizards center along with Joakim Noah and former Golden State Warriors center Marreese Speights are expected to have individual workouts under the keen eye of the Lakers coaches in the coming weeks.

DeMarcus Cousins
DeMarcus Cousins #0 of the Golden State Warriors reacts after scoring against the Phoenix Suns during the second half of the NBA game at Talking Stick Resort Arena in Phoenix, Arizona, Feb. 8, 2019. Christian Petersen/Getty Images

ESPN’s Brian Windhorst believes Marcin Gortat, who played for the Los Angeles Clippers last season, is also in contention now that he is a free agent. Ramona Shelburne, who sat alongside Windhorst on ESPN’s “The Jump”, believes the Lakers will not make a decision in haste and that they will take their time before signing a replacement.

Shelburne suggested that the center position in basketball is now endangered with the way the game is being played and the Lakers will only make a decision immediately is if the player they want may not be available after training camp. The likes of Howard, Noah and Gortat are unlikely to generate too much interest unless there’s another team desperate to bring in an experienced center.

JaVale McGee is expected to start at center for the Lakers and the ESPN analyst believes it would have been the case even if Boogie was fit for the entire campaign. But despite a role from the bench, the injured center was expected to get a lot of minutes and hence Shelburne believes the Lakers will be looking for a player that can really contribute and not just be a “live body” on the court.