Lakers guard Quinn Cook warms up before a game against the Timberwolves earlier this season. (Kyusung Gong / Associated Press)
The Lakers will waive guard Quinn Cook before his contract with the team becomes guaranteed Wednesday for the rest of the season, according to a person with knowledge of the decision who is not authorized to speak publicly.
There are no immediate plans to fill Cook’s roster spot, and multiple people with knowledge of the situation said they don’t expect the Lakers to reunite with Houston center DeMarcus Cousins if he becomes available as expected. The team will, however, monitor the buyout and trade markets for potential additions to their frontcourt.
Sacramento center Hassan Whiteside, who is averaging 8.3 points, 5.7 rebounds and 1.3 blocked shots in 14-1/2 minutes per game, is a possible target the team could pursue.
Marc Gasol, who has started all 32 games for the Lakers this season, is averaging only 4.2 points and 4.5 rebounds per game. His shooting from three-point range has improved, as he’s made 41.2% from deep over the last 10 games.
His backup, Montrezl Harrell, scored a season-high 26 points in 23 minutes Monday in a 127-124 overtime loss to the Washington Wizards but finished the game on the bench. Washington backup center Robin Lopez was a game-high plus-16 in the plus/minus rating.
Vogel said that, with Lopez’s 7-foot presence plus Russell Westbrook’s and Bradley Beal’s offense, he decided to keep Harrell on the bench.
“They have two dominant offensive players having huge nights,” Vogel said. “And we wanted as much size as we could get at the rim for defensive purposes.”
Asked about his minutes, Harrell declined to offer much.
“That’s not really up to me, man,” Harrell said. “I just do what is asked of me to do, man. When I’m out there on the floor, the minutes I’m out there on the floor, I go head full of steam and give it my all to the end when the whistle blows and my sub comes into the game. As far as closing out this game, it’s neither here nor there, man.”
Cook has appeared in 16 games this season, averaging 3.9 minutes and 2.1 points per game. He was a member of last season’s NBA championship team and is a well-liked figure in the Lakers locker room and around the NBA. He won two championships with Golden State before joining the Lakers.
Following the loss to the Wizards, Cook said his goodbyes to his teammates inside the Lakers’ locker room. It’s expected there will be interest in Cook from teams around the league.
This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.