An increasing number of reports indicate that George Karl wants the Sacramento Kings to trade their All-Star center DeMarcus Cousins. And a very likely landing destination for Cousins could be the Denver Nuggets.
According to ESPN’s Chris Broussard, Karl would like to get point guard Ty Lawson and forward Kenneth Faried in exchange for Cousins. Theoretically, Karl would have the power to make this deal, considering that he’s allowed to make draft picks and “some” trades. However, owner Vivek Ranadive is reportedly blocking any Cousins trade at this time. Here’s a look at comments that Ranadive made to USA Today earlier this week:
“I have no idea where that’s (trade rumors) coming from. But if you like, you should talk to [Kings vice president of basketball and franchise operations] Vlade [Divac], because I know Vlade feels exactly the same way. And I’m deferring to Vlade on everything. We have no interest in moving him. From my perspective, it’s really simple: We feel that he’s a one-of-a-kind player, and we have a group of players right now and we’re going to build on it.”
Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports that Karl has been trying to get Kings vice president of basketball operations Vlade Divac and several players to back him in convincing Ranadive that Cousins should be traded. Towards the end of last season, Karl stated that any player on the Sacramento roster was available for trade. It then got around to Cousins that Karl was interested in shopping him before the 2015-16 NBA season begins.
Now there are rumors that the head coach and Cousins haven’t spoken to each other in months. So to try and facilitate this relationship in training camp next season might be a disaster. But on the other hand, Ranadive is very high on the 6’11” center, namely because he can do it all, as his numbers suggest: 24.1 PPG, 12.7 RPG, 1.7 BPG and 3.6 APG. So until the owner is on board, it looks like Cousins is staying put for the time being.
This puts Karl and other Sacramento front office members in an awkward position because if they are allowed to trade Cousins, they’d need to get considerable value back. And while Karl is high on Lawson, the Lawson/Faried combo doesn’t seem like enough to consider this trade a win.
The one thing that Sacramento ownership and Karl seem on the same page with is the direction of the team. Ranadive doesn’t want to rebuild since his team will soon be moving into a new arena. And Karl is closing in on Don Nelson’s record for the most NBA regular-season wins in history. So compiling draft picks and developing young players doesn’t interest him in any trade scenario.
That would make it very hard for the L.A. Lakers to get Cousins. The Lakers seem to have the most interest in him, but their main asset right now is the No. 2 overall pick in the upcoming draft. In fact, the Kings may get rid of their own No. 6 pick in order to bring in a solid veteran player. Other teams pursuing Cousins include the Boston Celtics and Orlando Magic, and both will also have a difficult time finding the veteran assets that could help Sacramento win now.
In other potential moves, the Kings are interested in signing free agent Rajon Rondo as well as dealing Rudy Gay. Rondo is also interested in the Kings, but they would need to free up some more money to sign him this off season. As for Gay, he’s had two very good seasons in Sacramento along with a friendly 3-year, $40 million deal. So he’s been drawing plenty of interest from other teams this summer.