Hold onto your hats folks, this is gonna be an interesting couple of days.
Rumblings started yesterday that the Kings were involved in trade discussions surrounding DeMarcus Cousins. The owner is strongly opposed to any such deal but it sounds like George Karl is pushing to get the talented but turbulent center out the door.
Karl and members of the Kings front office have made it clear to opposing team executives and coaches that they hope to soon have a formal ownership authorization to actively shop Cousins, sources said. Kings officials, including Karl, have discussed potential deals informally with other teams, but no other front office has felt comfortable that any deal can happen until Ranadive is fully on board.
When the Kings first considered hiring George Karl as their coach back in February, the pushback from Cousins' camp — namely Dan Fegan and Jarrin Akana of Relativity Sports — came almost immediately. And while it appeared that Cousins and Karl found a way to work together down the stretch of the regular season after he was hired, Karl's mid-April comments that, in essence, everyone is trade-able seemed to confirm all the concerns coming from Cousins' side at the start of their pairing. It was, in the eyes of some, the beginning of their end.
So what does DeMarcus Cousins think of all of this?
— DeMarcus Cousins (@boogiecousins) June 23, 2015
Good thing I speak emoji, this translates roughly to "He's a snake in the grass." So there's that.
So how does this impact the Boston Celtics? Well, you can bet that Danny Ainge is on the phone with Vlade and just about anyone else in the Kings front office he can get ahold of.
ESPN reported in May after the Boston Celtics' first-round elimination that the Celtics planned to be at the front of the line in terms of trying to trade for Cousins this offseason. The Denver Nuggets have also been increasingly mentioned as a likely trade suitor for him since the hiring of former Kings coach and Cousins favorite Mike Malone as their new coach. But Denver wouldn't appear to have the sort of trade assets to rival Boston's cache of future first-round picks, which tend to become especially handy when trying to assemble multi-team trades.
The problem is that according to the Woj report, the Kings (or at least Karl) are looking for established NBA players rather than a slew of draft picks (Woj even indicates that there's mutual interest between the Kings and old friend Rajon Rondo). Even if the Kings wanted picks, it might be hard to top the Lakers offer that starts with the number 2 pick. Perhaps, however, the Celtics can get involved by dealing from their hoard of picks to a team looking to offload a big name player that might interest the Kings.
Or perhaps the Celtics could get involved as a 3rd team in a deal that doesn't include Cousins going to Boston. They could potentially pick up additional assets in such a transaction. Reports are that the Kings would rather trade the number 6 pick (again, preferring immediate help). This is where a guy like Danny Ainge could get very creative and we've already gotten one report that he's "thinking big." So stay tuned (as if you could stay away if you tried).