As the NBA regular season draws to a close, the Sacramento Kings once again find themselves on the outside of the playoff picture, staring down an offseason full of questions — like, will George Karl be fired during the playoffs or will they wait ’til June? More importantly, is this the summer they actually hit the reset button and trade disgruntled star DeMarcus Cousins?
Though parting ways with Karl seems like it’s destined to happen (though you can’t take anything for granted with the Vivek Ranadive-owned Kings), the Cousins questions remains an open and thorny one. The component on which most people focus is whether the culture change that would come from dealing such an openly unhappy player is worth losing one of the most talented players in the game. But as USA Today‘s Sam Amick notes, just as challenging a question is whether the Kings can get anything approaching fair value for Cousins if they do decide to trade him. Amick also brings up one of the Kings’ trade attempts, and let’s say they set the bar pretty high.
When Cousins trade talks between the Kings and Los Angeles Lakers last June failed, when Cousins’ agent, Dan Fegan, was orchestrating a way out for his client amid frustration over Karl, some rival executives who read about the Kings’ demands and saw them as exorbitant took notice. If the Kings wanted the No. 2 pick, Julius Randle, Jordan Clarkson and draft considerations for Cousins, some of them thought, then why even bother engaging in discussions?
At a certain level, you can respect that the Kings know they need a real return for Cousins, but this isn’t the age of Ted Stepien’s Cavaliers or even Isiah Thomas’ Knicks. Executives guard their future assets more closely than they ever have, and while Cousins is quite a prize, he won’t matter much if any trade to get him turns your roster as bare as Sacramento’s current lottery-bound bunch. There are certainly teams interested — Amick specifically calls out the Magic, the Celtics and the Knicks as possible suitors — but if the Kings are going to trade Boogie, they’re going to need to meet someone halfway.
(Via USA Today)