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The NBA trade deadline is still a month away, but general managers across the league are putting out their feelers to gauge the market value of various trade chips. Despite Rudy Gay and Pau Gasol rumors swirling, it’s quite possible the NBA’s trade deadline could be fairly quiet.
One marquee player that might be moving is Kings’ Center, DeMarcus Cousins. Cousins was recently suspended for the third time this season after an argument with coach Keith Smart, fueling speculation that Sacramento has had enough of the talented but troubled center. Apparently the Celtics have been keen on the twenty two year old.
Reports coming out of the Kings camp have been sourceless and contradictory: Cousins is as good as gone; Cousins is untouchable and everything in between. What’s clear is that the Kentucky grad’s most recent suspension has spurred him to average 24.5 points and 15.3 boards in four January games. Whether these numbers make it easier for the Kings to hold onto Cousins or easier for another team to take a risk remains to be seen.
One thing is for sure: Danny Ainge has never been shy about making mid-season moves.
Kings General Manager Geoff Petrie would be willing to part with Cousins in exchange for a pair of reliable veterans, while Kings co-owners Gavin and Joe Maloof are extremely reluctant to give up their future All-Star.There are a number of straight up trades to be made between the Celtics and Kings. The contracts of Brandon Bass, Courtney Lee, Jason Terry and Jeff Green could each be exchanged directly for Cousins, and if the Kings wanted to throw a smaller contract in (like Tyler Honeycutt), *Avery Bradley, Jared Sullinger or Fab Melo could be added.
No matter how disruptive Cousins is, a trade will cost Boston a lot more than an under-performing role player and an unproven prospect. If Petrie’s desire for a reliable veteran is accurate, and if the Kings are eager to ship out Tyreke Evans as has been rumored, Terry might be a good fit as part of a bigger deal.
Any trade for Cousins needs to feature at least one incoming big for Sacramento, who is already thin up front, plus additional young pieces for the future. Boston does not exactly have a plethora of big men to offer, meaning Sullinger and/or Melo would be essential centerpieces of a trade.
In order to get Cousins in the coming weeks, Boston will have to put together their most appealing package which would probably have to include Sullinger, Melo, Bradley, Terry and multiple picks. The Kings would have to include Evans or another guard to help the Celtics account for the open roster spots due to all the outgoing players.
The Maloof brothers and Petrie have yet to answer the pressing question: is Cousins worth it? If he is, he will not be traded, and nothing short of Rajon Rondo will change that. If he does not sign an extension this summer, Cousins will be a free agent come 2014 and the Kings risk losing him for nothing.
The Kings could likely do better than Boston’s best package, and could even wait until the 2014 deadline to decide.
The latest of the elusive NBA “sources” have Kings management extremely high on Cousins after his recent efforts (including a 31 point, 20 rebound outing) to the point that they are going all out to bring in pieces that might persuade Cousins to sign an extension.
The closer the February trade deadline gets, the more the rumors will be swirling around, until the pieces all fall into place. Here are the facts: Cousins is likely staying put. If Cousins is moving, it’s probably not to Boston.
Or Danny Ainge might just send Lee to Portland and grab JJ Hickson. Problem solved?