NBA trade rumors have a tendency to focus on the same group of players, and the Sacramento Kings’ duo of center DeMarcus Cousins and small forward Rudy Gay have been regulars in the rumor mill this offseason. The latest scuttlebutt has the Miami Heat stepping forward as a team that may be interested in a significant deal with Sacramento.
According to Yibada, the Heat and Kings are considering a trade that would send Cousins and Gay to Miami, and in return, the Heat would ship center Hassan Whiteside and point guard Goran Dragic to Sacramento. On the surface, this sounds like an intriguing possibility, but there are unavoidable problems associated with this NBA trade rumor.
Hassan Whiteside just signed a four-year, $98 million contract with the Heat this past July, so per NBA trade and salary cap constraints, Whiteside cannot be traded until December 15. Additionally, even if Whiteside was currently trade-eligible, Miami would be sending too much salary to the Kings in this rumored proposal — Whiteside and Dragic make a combined $38 million per season, while DeMarcus Cousins and Rudy Gay tip the scales at about $30 million annually.
It’s very close, but this rumored offer is about $200,000 away from being a legal trade, so some type of adjustment to the structure of the deal would have to be made. A throw-in player could be added by the Sacramento Kings, but at this point, this trade scenario is becoming highly speculative; even if both teams were interested in this swap, it would take some tweaking (and waiting at least two more months) for this deal to become remotely possible.
For the sake of argument, if this four-player trade did actually happen, how would it look for both the Heat and the Kings? Miami would certainly love to have a talent like DeMarcus Cousins in their lineup, but Hassan Whiteside has come on so strong over the last two years that some would argue that his value is nearly the same as that of Cousins. The Heat had planned to hand the starting small forward job to Justise Winslow this season, but the addition of Rudy Gay would allow the team to bring Winslow along a bit more slowly.
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When looking at the point guard position, this trade begins to look shaky for Miami. A combination of Briante Weber and Beno Udrih would be forced to man the lead guard spot, and that would spell trouble for the Heat. Everything considered, this proposal would be no better than an even deal for Miami, and perhaps more likely, an overall downgrade. Heat President Pat Riley would not agree to this trade; he would prefer to stay the course with a lineup that included Dragic, Winslow, and Whiteside.
The Sacramento Kings would be losing a lot of productivity by sending out Cousins and Gay, but there are reasons those two are rumored to be on the trading block. Cousins’ attitude and behavioral issues have grown tiresome to many within the Kings organization, and a lack of team success with Cousins as their star player is apparently causing the team to consider a change. Rudy Gay has not been a good fit with his teammates in Sacramento, and Gay has even reportedly asked for a trade, per CBS Sacramento.
For the Kings, a deal such as this would alleviate the problems that come along with Cousins and Gay, although the overall improvement in the Kings’ lineup would be minimal — the team would improve at the point guard position with Goran Dragic, but would not be as explosive at center and small forward as a result of this rumored trade proposal. However, if this offer was actually on the table, Kings Vice President of Basketball Operations Vlade Divac would probably agree to this deal. Not only would there be some improvement in Sacramento’s starting lineup, but the Kings might also have much better team chemistry without Cousins and Gay on the roster.
Current NBA trade rumors are indicating that the Miami Heat and Sacramento Kings could be talking about a potential deal involving several star players. Realistically, this trade can’t and won’t take place because it doesn’t follow NBA trade and salary cap rules. But even if this was a legal trade, it appears very unlikely that both teams (especially the Heat) would feel good enough about this two-for-two swap to sign on the dotted line.
[Featured Image by Rich Pedroncelli/AP Images]