The Sacramento Kings are a mess.
That first line could be used for any of the last decade and a half. But now things are really bad. DeMarcus Cousins is the only real building block for the franchise, but he’s busy yelling at his coach after a game in which he played bad. That coach is George Karl, a guy who traditionally isn’t one to mess with.
The talk now is that Karl and Cousins can’t co-exist in Sacramento. Considering the organization has an inexperienced GM and a owner who is known to do some unconventional things, there’s a chance nothing happens. But it seems like a move is in play. It’s likely that Karl is going to be the one to go. I’d love to see a coach like Tom Thibodeau reign in Cousins, but it’s likely they’d go with yet another guy who they think will allow Cousins to remain the big man on campus. But it’s a bit more fun to speculate about what could happen if Cousins gets moved.
There are plenty who would say that Cousins is the best overall center in the league. I’m not sure if I’d go that far, but I can certainly see where that argument stems from. The haul for Cousins would have to be huge. It’s going to have to include young talent and draft picks, otherwise Sacramento fans may run straight west and join the rest of their brethren aboard the Warrior wagon. Sacramento has to be careful what they do here and the team acquiring Cousins has to be careful they haven’t destroyed everything they’ve built to this point. I say that to illustrated how all the deals I’ve outlined below are totally hypothetical and likely won’t happen. But here we go anyway. A look at trade destinations for DeMarcus Cousins.
Los Angeles Lakers
The Lakers have been rumored to be in pursuit of Cousins more than any other franchise, and that makes sense. Fans aren’t likely going to want to sit around waiting for this team to do a normal rebuild, and there have already been plenty of rumblings among those in L.A. about what this team has done so far in 2015-16. Bringing in a star like Cousins isn’t going to turn things around overnight, but it could certainly help. On the Kings side, adding young talent like Randle and Russell gives hope for the future that can also play now. Young comes into the picture to make the numbers work.
The Celtics have approximately 300 picks over the next half decade, so you can add any number of them in this deal. It’d likely take two first rounders for this to be a thing. Smart is the key to this deal, but it also depends on the Kings’ confidence in Zeller and their ability to keep him in Sacramento. Lee is mostly in the deal for the cap purposes, but he can help keep this year from being a total failure.
New York Knicks
It’s not right to write about any star trade without including the Knicks, especially in 2015. Porzingis’ play so far this year definitely helps his trade stock, but are the Knicks willing to sell high? They also don’t have any draft picks of their own for 2016, and this deal would most certainly need to involve at least three picks. The Rockets’ 2nd for 2016, the Knicks’ first for 2017 and the Knicks’ first for 2018 could be enough, but that’s a lot of depending on the future picks and Porzingis for Sacramento. Probably a rather unlikely option.
Brad Beal is very good at basketball and Oubre has a lot of upside. Bringing Gortat into Sacramento keeps depth in the frontcourt. This is the deal that would most likely do the biggest thing to help a contender. Putting Cousins down low and adding McLemore to take Beal’s spot could be huge for the Wizards this year. The Wizards would also likely have to include their 2016 first round pick here, but if they really improved by adding Cousins, that pick wouldn’t be terribly valuable.