This is a question that was brought up in a tangential sort of way on the Lowe Post podcast with Zach Lowe speaking to our friend Paul Flannery of SBNation. Check out the podcast here.
The idea is that if the Celtics really want to go "all-in" and make a play for DeMarcus Cousins, who could very well be a game changing, dynamic, young, big man of the future, then Ainge may have to swallow hard and agree to parting with prize point guard Marcus Smart.
Smart has many of the tools and work ethic and potential to become a cornerstone player for the Celtics and if they can build the team without giving him up (like say getting Kevin Love in free agency) then I think that is their preference. But one thing that Danny Ainge has proven time and time again is that nobody is off the table when it comes to trades. Flannery points out that Ainge will always drive a hard bargain with his players, making prized assets really hard to attain (the example used was not giving up Rondo in the KG deal). But (say it with me now) anything can happen, in particular in this offseason of potential massive changes.
Note that there is no particular rumor here. This is only speculation and what-if questions. But I consider it to be an educated guess that these teams will at least pick up the phone and talk somewhere along these lines.
The Kings have an increasingly dissatisfied star big man who could, if he so chose, make life very uncomfortable for the organization. Cousins probably doesn't want to outright demand a trade since his reputation is already tainted to some degree around the league. But he's also probably right to be frustrated with the way the Kings are being run.
As much as Vlade and company would not want to move him, they might consider "selling high" this summer if they can get a prized prospect out of the deal. The only guy on the Celtics that really fits that mold is Marcus Smart, so you can bet they'd be asking for him (plus some additional picks).
Smart could be a wonderful player, but you have to wonder if his upside is greater than that of Cousins - who might be one of the best centers in the game right now.
So this is just a thought exercise and something to debate on a slow-news-day Monday. But would you deal Smart for Cousins?