Among the Sacramento King faithful, feelings are mixed on the future of DeMarcus Cousins in purple and black. Some want the native Alabamian shipped out quicker than an overnight UPS package while others refuse to give up on the 22-year old’s talent, a talent that rival organizations lighting up the phone lines of the Kings’ front office.
Now granted, the
Maloofs Kings have all but refused to budge on a potential Cousins blockbuster trade, but you know they’re listening. That doesn’t mean they’re actively trying to send Cousins out, but they’re certainly not going to hang up the phone before they hear the proposed offer, but given the unique scenario – finding a suitable proposal that works for both the Kings and the offering team is difficult.
Make no mistake, off talent alone, DeMarcus Cousins has the tools to be a true franchise player. That’s not to say he is now (he’s not) or that he’ll ever become one, but the ability is there – the talent simply needs to be harnessed and only Cousins can rope it in. Will he ever do so? There are plenty of teams willing to take that chance, assuming the price is right – but for the Kings, it needs to be a hefty price – one I don’t see any team affording until the Kings lower their expectations, which they don’t need to do – not yet.
While other teams have called the Kings in regards to Cousins’ availability, a few we know who’ve talked to Petrie and company are the Boston Celtics, Detroit Pistons and we’re assuming the Washington Wizards, among others. Many of those fan bases are salivating at the thought of snagging Cousins on the cheap (and why shouldn’t they be), but despite Cousins’ issues the Kings aren’t going to take on another teams tarnished goods in exchange for their flawed star.
Let’s look at some of the better packages the aforementioned squads could put together in exchange for Cousins:
Boston Celtics – The aging Celts are in need of some fresh blood and who better to snag on the cheap than a potential franchise big man? Pairing Cousins with former Kentucky Wildcat Rajon Rondo could be a lovely match, but despite the many reasons it makes sense for the Celtics, there is little desirable to the Kings in a potential trade scenario. While the Green are full of solid veterans, the Kings would undoubtedly be looking for some youthful talent along with a young star – something the Celtics don’t really have. Sure, they have some solid players in their mid 20’s like Avery Bradley (who the Kings have shown interest in before) and their most recent draft pick, Jared Sullinger but the Kings aren’t selling off their troubled big man for a point guard who really doesn’t improve the position much, an overpriced solid veteran (like Brandon Bass or Jeff Green) and Sullinger, despite his youth and talent. There just isn’t much there for the Kings, despite Boston’s perceived interest.
Detroit Pistons – Of the teams who’ve called, the crew from the Motor City might have the best opportunity to snag Cousins away from the Kings, but even then it’s a stretch. With a roster full of young talent, the Kings would certainly have plenty to pick from in exchange for DeMarcus, but what Joe Dumarsis willing to part with and what the Kings desire could be vastly apart. Greg Monroe would almost certainly be a requirement in a trade and despite his lack of development, Brandon Knight would probably be requested as well – a hefty price for any player, let alone one like Cousins who’s shown himself to be less than a company man. Dumars has made some pretty head scratching moves as GM in Detroit, so it’s difficult to put anything past him – though one would expect the Pistons to be more willing to offer up somebody like Andre Drummond along with some change for DeMarcus, a move that would make little sense for Sacramento. If the Pistons were willing to pay a premium for the Kings big man, the parts are there for a trade – I just don’t see Detroit doing it, especially with a player like Monroe already on the roster.
Washington Wizards – The Wizard rumors have come out of left field and been greatly exaggerated since Sam Amick’s piece last evening, where he simply suggested that Cousins and his agent wouldn’t be opposed to re-teaming with DeMarcus’ friend and former teammate John Wall. But as with anything on the internet, the suggestion turned into a wildfire rumor and now we have some websites suggesting that a trade is all but certain – apparently the rumor mongers don’t exactly look at the rosters before lighting the match. For the Kings, there is little on the Wizards roster that would entice them to move the frustrated Cousins. Sure, the Wizards have young talent the Kings would be interested in – John Wall and Bradley Beal to be exact, but the Wizards aren’t shipping them out in exchange for Cousins – they’re trying to pair the trio. That leaves a player like Jan Vesely – not exactly a name the Kings would be clamoring over. The Kings wouldn’t have much interest in a Nene or Emeka Okafor, so a trade between the two ballclubs isn’t likely. The one thing the Wizards will (most likely) have is a top three lottery pick, which could be dangled to get the Kings to show more interest but even then, with a supposed new general manager at the helm in Sacramento at season end and so much organizational turmoil to go along with a semi-suspect “star” draft, you have to wonder if even a top three pick would be enough to get the sides to talk.
There have been other teams call on Cousins in recent weeks, though we don’t have much confirmation on the names so it’s difficult to gauge the “could-be” scenarios, though, a common theme you’ll find is most teams will lack the youth and quality the Kings will desire. And of those that do have it, chances are, they aren’t going to want to take the risk on Cousins unless the price tag is cheap – a price the Kings can’t afford to sell at.
In short, for now, for the Kings and Cousins – kiss and make up and send some gift baskets while you’re at it. There aren’t many scenarios for a trade out there that make sense for both of the parties, so this roller coaster isn’t stopping anytime soon.
Buckle up, King fans. I see a few dips coming.