The 2016-17 NBA season is officially underway as teams are holding their initial practice sessions around the league. NBA trade rumors, however, will not subside — especially ones that have DeMarcus Cousins changing teams. A new internet rumor is being discussed that would involve a team that, up until now, has been quiet in the offseason trade rumor mill.
According to the website NBA Trade Rumors, the Sacramento Kings and Portland Trail Blazers may be hammering out the details on a potential deal. Rumor has it that the Kings would send center DeMarcus Cousins and shooting guard Ben McLemore to Portland in exchange for Blazers shooting guard C.J. McCollum, center Mason Plumlee, and a 2017 first-round draft pick.
This trade scenario appears curious right away, because Cousins is the only player among this group who is making a big paycheck by NBA standards. After checking this trade proposal against NBA trade and salary cap rules, this deal is not even close to having the required salary match. The Kings would be sending out $21 million in salary, versus the $5.5 million the Blazers would be including in the deal. Neither team is under the salary cap, so Portland would have to add a great deal of salary to make this trade work.
— Portland Trailblazer (@TrailblazeRRs) May 14, 2016
This proposal could be a starting point for an eventual legal trade between Sacramento and Portland, but on its own, this trade can’t take place. In looking at each team’s roster, there doesn’t appear to be any combination of players (from either side) who could be added to this rumored swap to make it work. If the Kings and Blazers have discussed this scenario, they should have quickly realized that a transaction centered around these four players simply wouldn’t be allowed by the NBA.
Clearly, this is an NBA trade rumor that has no validity, but what if the teams were able to make this deal under NBA rules? Would either one of them actually want to make this trade? DeMarcus Cousins and Ben McLemore have reportedly both been on the trading block all summer (per Morning News USA), so that part of this rumor has some substance. Sacramento could certainly look for a similar deal elsewhere, so it might be interesting to see how a trade like this would look for the Kings if they do end up moving Cousins and McLemore.
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The rumored scenario has both teams swapping centers and shooting guards, so the roster analysis is fairly straight-forward. The Kings wouldn’t actually need to get a center back in a trade for Cousins, but a player like Plumlee would add front line depth. If C.J. McCollum came to Sacramento as part of a deal with Portland, he would be a huge upgrade at shooting guard for the Kings. McCollum is coming off a break-out season and looks like a future NBA All-Star.
Considering that a future first-round draft choice may also be in play, Sacramento may be tempted to make this move if this offer was truly on the table. On the surface, the Blazers’ package doesn’t seem like quite enough for Cousins and McLemore, but when one takes DeMarcus Cousins’ history of mental and emotional issues into account, a trade such as this could be the right move for the Kings.
If the Portland Trail Blazers agreed to this deal, they would be acquiring one of the most talented players in all of basketball in DeMarcus Cousins. The six-foot-eleven big man would become the go-to guy in Portland, while Ben McLemore would have a new home and be given a chance to resurrect his floundering NBA career. Allen Crabbe would likely become the Blazers’ starting shooting guard, but McLemore could compete for that spot and at least provide quality minutes as a backup.
This rumored trade looks about the same from both sides — it would provide each team with an impact player, and based on where the strengths and weaknesses lie for both clubs, each could benefit from a deal like this. The Kings would be much stronger in the backcourt while remaining solid up front, and at the same time, the Trail Blazers would have much more firepower at center in addition to being able to compensate well for giving up a productive guard.
All NBA trade rumors are a little different from one another, and this one is rather intriguing in the final analysis. If this particular trade scenario would be allowed by the league, one can see why both teams would have an interest in the proposal. Unfortunately, this potential “win-win” trade cannot become a reality because the incoming and outgoing salaries would be so vastly different. It would not be surprising if one or both of these teams seek out a similar deal with another trade partner, because the basic structure of this offer makes quite a bit of sense for the Kings and Blazers.
[Featured Image by Steve Dykes/AP Images]