Is a DeMarcus Cousins trade a possibility? Could the Sacramento Kings make another coaching change? What is the front office doing?
There are more questions than answers currently surrounding the Sacramento Kings. This is something unfortunately we have become used to as a fan base. Rumors constantly surround our team, our front office, our coach and our players. In short, yes a trade of DeMarcus Cousins is something we may have to deal with. There is also a potential coaching change looming. All of this is not a good thing getting ready to close out Arco Arena and head into the new Golden 1 Center.
Over the last few days a flurry of reports started to surface. They all surround Sacramento Kings superstar DeMarcus Cousins. Ownership continues to reiterate that Cousins is not getting traded. However, many are reporting that the environment is contentious and potential trade rumors are coming out, including one by ESPN’s Marc Stein, who is reporting the “Lakers are actively trying to acquire Cousins.”
Lets play some catch up on the reports that have surfaced in the last couple days, before we can understand what is really going on.
Apr 3, 2015; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Orlando Magic center Nikola Vucevic (9) shoots the ball during the first quarter against the Minnesota Timberwolves at Target Center. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports
Marc Stein’s report about a potential deal for Cousins, both the Los Angeles Lakers and Orlando Magic would be involved. In this potential deal the Kings would acquire Nikola Vucevic amongst other things. But Stein mentioned that the talks were “exploratory.”
Sam Amick of USA Today is reporting that “Sacramento Kings ownership has zero interest in trading franchise center piece DeMarcus Cousins. Owner Vivek Ranadive told Amick, “We have zero interest in moving Cousins, so I don’t know where that’s coming from,””
As to where that may be coming from, there are two potential sources. One of those sources is Coach George Karl, who reportedly is interested in trading Cousins. Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports is reporting “Karl has been recruiting Kings vice president of basketball operations Vlade Divac and multiple players on the Kings’ roster to unite with him in making the case to owner Vivek Ranadive that Cousins needs to be traded, league sources said.”
The other is likely the camp of DeMarcus Cousins. Carmichael Dave of KHTK 1140, who is well-connected with the Kings organization and has a great knowledge with everything involved shared some interesting tidbits this morning on Dave, Deuce, and Morgan show. He mentioned that the camp of DeMarcus Cousins requested a trade privately, around a month ago. Cousins camp and Sacramento Kings camp met in Los Angeles where they also reportedly gave ownership a short list of teams that he would like to go to. Dave made a point of reiterating that “Not everyone in Demarcus’ camp wants him to be traded.”
We also know George Karl and Demarcus’ camp have a history. Sam Amick reported prior to the hire of Karl that there could be potential issues between the two. “Cousins’ day-to-day agent, Jarrin Akana, worked with Karl in Denver and was re-assigned from assistant coach to scout when Karl took over for coach Jeff Bzdelik in 2005. Dan Fegan, Cousins’ lead agent, represented Karl’s son, Coby, as a player for years before he was eventually replaced.” He went to on to say that “That circle, by all accounts, has been against the notion of adding Karl.”
You might remember Fagan, from another franchise centerpiece that was looking to get out of his situation, Dwight Howard. If Cousins really wants out, then Fagan will make it happen.
George Karl has had issues with superstars in previous stints. He was in Denver, when another superstar forced his way out. Carmelo Anthony is a name in a long line that has had issues with Karl. Cousins tweeted last night.
Tweets referring to George Karl as a snake are not new. Previous stars, including Anthony have made tweets in reference to Karl being a snake.
SB Nation has all the tweets listed here from former players. Ty Lawson, Andre Igoudala and J.R. Smith also are on the list.
The Kings seemingly have two options with everything surrounding Cousins. Either they find a new coach and try to mend fences or they trade the superstar center.
May 10, 2015; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau in the second half of game four of the second round of the NBA Playoffs against the Cleveland Cavaliers at the United Center. Cleveland won 86-84. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports
If moving on from Karl is the direction they go, then a few names make sense. Tom Thibodeau could be a name that makes sense. Cousins and Thibodeau worked together with Team USA. The seemed to work well together and could help bring a defensive mindset to the Kings. With a seemingly vacant general manager spot, Thibs may be interested in joining the Kings but only if he were the head coach and GM.
Another potential fit could be David Blatt, who plays the open style the Kings are trying to get to. He also has the European background that could appeal to Vlade Divac. This hire would make more sense if Kristaps Porzingis or Mario Hezonja are the pick. I know what your thinking, Blatt is still working for the Cavaliers. Despite making it to the NBA Finals, Blatt could be let go. They could simply have Tyronn Lue slide over and assume the coaching responsibility, which many believe he already assumes.
The third name that could make sense is John Calipari, who has a great relationship with Cousins and has been rumored to make the jump in past season. The Kings could even look to land Eric Bledsoe with their 6th pick and have a Kentucky reunion of sorts.
The problem with hiring a new coach, is it is a total gamble. They hope it satisfies Cousins and his group. If it still doesn’t work, the Kings may deem that the only thing they can do, is to look to trade Cousins, there would be a few teams that could potentially have the pieces to make something work. Remember, Cousins is only 24 and has three years left on deal that will pay him a little over 47 Million over the next three season. Which for a player of Cousins caliber, is very team friendly.
The problem with most potential deals, is the package likely to come back to Sacramento, would likely include young pieces. The organization as a whole has continued to insist they are looking to make the playoffs and be competitive as they head into their new arena. There are a few potential deals that seem to have legs.
The Orlando Magic have a package of young players and picks that could interest the Sacramento Kings, if forced to move their franchise center piece. A package from Orlando would likely include Nikola Vucevic, who is signed on a relatively team friendly deal through the 2018/2019 season. It would also include Elfrid Payton, whom the Kings were considering heavily in last years NBA Draft and likely the Magic’s first round pick. This deal would also send Boogie to the Eastern Conference, which would keep him away from Sacramento for all but two times a year.
The Boston Celtics have a multitude of picks in this draft, as well as other drafts. They also have some young pieces that may interest the Kings, including Marcus Smart, James Young, and Jae Crowder. This group doesn’t seem to be enough, but a third team could be involved to make things work.
Los Angeles Lakers
As much as Kings fans may hate this deal, they could package around Julius Randle and the number 2 pick. The Kings could select D’Angelo Russell with the number 2 pick and us the 6 pick on Willie Cauley-Stein. Another potential direction the Kings could go at 2 and 6 is Jahlil Okafor and Emmanuel Mudiay. This deal may provide the most in potential return but it’s the freaking Lakers. Cousins coming into the new arena in purple and gold, may be enough to make the fan base collectively dry heave.
Deuce Mason suggested this potential deal this morning on 1140 KHTK and it’s one that could make sense for multiple reasons. For Cousins, he would get to join his good friend and former University of Kentucky teammate John Wall, who is also represented by Fegan. For the Kings, it could make sense, because they could land players that are ready to help sooner than later. A package could include Bradley Beal, a young potential star that has the ability to shoot. It could also include Marcin Gortat to fill in the short-term and potentially Otto Porter, who started to emerge in the playoffs this season.
One potential trade idea a friend of mine brought to my attention, was a deal that sends DeMarcus Cousins and Carl Landry to Detroit. In return the Kings would get Andre Drummond, a franchise center on the rise, Brandon Jennings, and Ersan Illysova. It would also incldue the 8th overall pick. The Kings could land two of Mario Hezonja, Justise Winslow, Trey Lyles or Devin Booker. It’s a deal that helps win sooner than later and lands future assets.
While there is no deal I love, if it comes time to pull the trigger a deal could be had that I wouldn’t hate. This is a situation that could end as quickly as Thursday, prior to the NBA Draft or could be a situation that drags out all summer and into next season. The next few days could be very interesting. Stay tuned to ARoyalPain.com for continuing coverage.