For about the past three seasons, there have been certain players and coaches that have consistently been linked to the Los Angeles Lakers, despite being members of another NBA franchise.
Sacramento Kings star big man, DeMarcus Cousins, may be the most consistent name of that bunch. Last summer, rumors and reports surrounded the Lakers once they leapfrogged to the No. 2 overall pick in last year’s NBA Draft Lottery, and Cousins was at the forefront of them.
Most of those rumors were shut down because the Kings made it clear that they had no intentions of trading their best player. But as the Sacramento Bee’s Ailene Voisin reports, it appears that Sacramento has changed their tune on that front.
A year ago, Cousins was untouchable. A year later, the sense within the organization is Divac is tempted by the prospect of pairing his center with his personally selected coach but that he has become increasingly frustrated by his center’s ongoing issues and, for the first time, is willing to test the market for the two-time All-Star.
The report does not mention the Lakers specifically, but we should all know by now that the rumors are on the verge of resurfacing now that Cousins is reportedly available.
For Los Angeles, their odds of having enough assets to land the big man may hinge on retaining their top-three protected pick on May 17. Without it, a trade would likely require the Lakers to offload at least two pieces of their young core of D’Angelo Russell, Jordan Clarkson and Julius Randle, leaving them with one, along with Larry Nance, Jr. and the arrival of Cousins.
With that additional top-three pick, it could give the Lakers more flexibility in a deal and provide them more options.
Despite Cousins’ All-Star level talent, he certainly comes with some risk. In Voisin’s report, she adds that Cousins has very few friends in the locker room because of his ongoing antics. Often times, he has reached the technical foul threshold in a season that warrants a suspension. He is an emotional player, which can be good at times, but still has to learn when to keep them in check.
For any team that wishes to trade for Cousins, they will have to decide if the talent he possesses outweighs the antics that appear to come with him.