It sure looks like one of the biggest trades of the past few years may go down either during or before the NBA draft on Thursday. Following up on previous reports that the Sacramento Kings have had basic discussions with the Los Angeles Lakers regarding All-Star center DeMarcus Cousins, Yahoo Sports NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski is now indicating that the two sides have talked about the framework of a potential deal.
The veteran reporter, citing sources close to the situation, is indicating that the Kings are also fielding offers from other teams in the lead up to the draft.
This runs contrary to a bevy of public statements from the organization strongly denying that Cousins is on the trade block—denials that new seem to be rooted more on upping the bounty Cousins could bring in a trade.
Per Wojnarowski’s report:
“Kings vice president of basketball operations Vlade Divac has pursued a possible deal that would include a bevvy of assets, including the Lakers’ No. 2 pick in Thursday’s NBA draft, rookies Julius Randle and Jordan Clarkson and other draft assets, league sources told Yahoo Sports.”
Clarkson, who performed extremely well as a rookie last season, is a new name to surface regarding potential trade talks. He could also force the Kings into seriously considering any deal offered up for Cousins. He averaged 11.4 points, 3.2 rebounds and 3.5 assists in 59 games (38 starts) as a rookie. He’d also fit the Kings’ need for a point guard of the future.
What makes Wojnarowski’s report even more interesting is the fact that the Kings are engaging in open discussions with other teams for Cousins.
Process of elimination can be our friend here. If the Kings asking price is high—evidenced by the reported parameters of a deal with the Lakers—only a few teams could engage in serious conversations with Sacramento for its All-Star center.
The first necessity is a high-lottery pick, which eliminates a vast majority of teams from contention. The second necessity would be a young star to send the Kings’ way—something that eliminates a number of teams picking near the top of the draft on Thursday.
Pure conjecture, but the Philadelphia 76ers are definitely one team to keep an eye on here. They could conceivably offer up 2013 first-round pick Nerlens Noel as well as the third overall pick. Though, it’s not known whether Philadelphia would have any interest in adding a veteran big man. And despite the fact that Noel’s name has been mentioned in trade rumors this week, that was working under the preface that Philadelphia would bring in Boston Celtics guard Marcus Smart in a deal. It’s also important to note that Philadelphia turned down the Celtics offer.
If not Philadelphia, the Denver Nuggets still make some sense. Picking at seventh overall, they have the necessary high pick to get a deal done. They also boast two players in Ty Lawson and Kenneth Faried that the Kings seem interested in.
In any event, things have certainly heated up surrounding Cousins. It will be interesting to see what happens within the next 12-to-18 hours. As Wojnarowski reported, things could heat up on Thursday.
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