The Boston Celtics want DeMarcus Cousins. Unfortunately for Danny Ainge and company, though, trading for players still under long-term contracts is a two-way street.
After a report emerged earlier this week that Boston intends to pursue a deal for Cousins comes one that the Sacramento Kings are uninterested in shopping the über-talented 24 year-old. Via Bill Herenda of CSN Bay Area:
The Kings want to make a playoff run next season with DeMarcus Cousins as the centerpiece of the franchise, league sources told CSNCalifornia.com.
Cousins enjoyed a stellar 2014-2015 campaign, firmly establishing himself as one of the top players in basketball. He averaged 24.1 points, 12.7 rebounds, and 3.6 assists per game this season while answering long-held questions over his defensive performance with aplomb. Not only was Cousins one of only two players to notch at least 1.5 steals and 1.5 blocks a night, but he also emerged as Sacramento’s bellwether defensive presence.
The Kings allowed 6.4 fewer points per 100 possessions with Cousins running the floor as opposed to riding the bench, and his 103.3 defensive rating was a team-best. And though he’ll never be a shot-blocker the likes of Anthony Davis or DeAndre Jordan, the Kentucky product has become an impactful rim-protector nonetheless – opponents shot just 47.0 percent against him in the restricted area, a number just a tenth of a point high than Tim Duncan’s.
Cousins, basically, is a bonafide franchise cornerstone. Just as unsurprising that the Celtics plan to target him is that the Kings are unlikely to give him up. Barring their widespread and unceasing displeasure in advance of impending free agency, players of his caliber are very rarely dealt and rightfully so.
Boston should definitely pursue Cousins anyway, though. He was vocal in opposition to Sacramento’s rash firing of Mike Malone in December, and it remains to be seen just how compatible he is with new coach George Karl. It’s not like the Kings are a bastion of organizational competence, either – Vivek Ranadive’s tenure as owner, unfortunately, has often been just as confounding as Joe and Gavin Maloof’s.
But even the Kings should be above trading a force like Cousins at this point in his career. And thankfully for the sake of their dedicated fan base, it appears that’s the case.