The Los Angeles Lakers are a hot NBA trade rumor topic these days. The team is in last place in the Western Conference with a 16-34 record, despite having a bundle of talented young players on the roster. Fans and media alike are wondering: are the Lakers going to show patience and let the young guns grow slowly, or will they look to make a blockbuster trade for a superstar (or two)?
Yibada discusses the possibility of trading point guard D’Angelo Russell, and what he might bring to the team if he was used as a bargaining chip. Indiana Pacers superstar small forward Paul George is mentioned, and the Sacramento Kings have reportedly shown interest in Russell, and as a result he could become part of a deal involving Kings superstar center DeMarcus Cousins.
According to the Sporting News, the Lakers have talked to the Kings about a possible trade that would send Russell and power forward Julius Randle to Sacramento in exchange for DeMarcus Cousins. There are rumors that the Kings are considering making a $200-plus million contract extension offer to Cousins, but this article opines that a rich contract extension would be a mistake for both sides, and that the possibility of dealing Cousins is still very much in play.
Sportsrageous reports that Los Angeles may have contacted the Indiana Pacers about a potential swap for Paul George. This story states that combo guard Jordan Clarkson and small forward Brandon Ingram are rumored to be at the center of the Lakers’ offer for George, which might also have included an additional player or draft pick.
Current NBA trade rumors indicate that there could be a blockbuster three-team deal being negotiated between the Los Angeles Lakers, Sacramento Kings, and Indiana Pacers. This rumored trade scenario would have two superstar players — DeMarcus Cousins and Paul George — landing in Los Angeles to play for the Lakers. The Kings would acquire D’Angelo Russell and Julius Randle, while the Pacers would add Jordan Clarkson, Brandon Ingram, and shooting guard Nick Young.
Even though this trade would be a legal transaction under NBA trade and salary cap constraints (per the ESPN NBA Trade Machine), it doesn’t pass the eye test of legitimacy. A deal involving two superstars going to one team in the same transaction would be unprecedented in NBA history.
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The closest the league has ever come to a swap that brought in two superstars would probably be the June 9, 1980, deal between the Boston Celtics and Golden State Warriors that netted the Celtics center Robert Parish and power forward Kevin McHale, who are both now in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, as described by Bleacher Report.
However, this trade still doesn’t meet the criteria, because McHale had never played in an NBA game at the time of the transaction, and Parish was considered no more than a pretty productive player on a bad team during his time with the Warriors — so neither player was even close to being in the “superstar” category before coming to Boston, teaming with Larry Bird and creating an NBA dynasty together.
History aside, there are other problems with this rumored proposal. The Indiana Pacers, who incidentally are run by the aforementioned Larry Bird, have stated that they are not listening to any trade offers for Paul George, and that they intend to offer him a max contract to remain in Indiana when George is ready to make that decision. With many NBA executives, statements like this should be taken with a grain of salt, but Bird is known to be very candid and honest with his comments to the media.
NBA trade rumors regarding DeMarcus Cousins have slowed down recently after reports such as this one from CSN Bay Area have revealed that the Sacramento Kings and Cousins have agreed in principle to a $207 million contract extension that he intends to sign this summer. It is possible that Cousins could eventually be traded, but with this contract extension offer looming, it doesn’t appear that Cousins is going anywhere prior to the February trade deadline.
The rumor mill may begin buzzing when a blockbuster trade of this magnitude starts to gain traction on the internet, but in most cases, those colossal deals are not realistic. In this particular scenario, there is plenty of evidence to suggest that neither the Pacers, nor the Kings are going to deal their star players right now.
Additionally, the Lakers have said in recent days that they are not interested in unloading any of their key young assets before the trade deadline, as reported by NESN. This is a very intriguing proposition to examine from the standpoint of a “fantasy trade,” but this seven-player transaction has no chance of actually taking place.
[Featured Image by Rich Pedroncelli/AP Images]