L.A. Lakers trade rumors now include DeMarcus Cousins, as the Sacramento Kings have officially made him available (again) to the rest of the NBA. This is huge news coming out of Sacramento, as it may indicate that the team is finally ready to open a new chapter in the history of the franchise. It's a familiar tale, though, with no guarantee that a deal will actually get done before the February 23 NBA trade deadline.
A report by NBA analyst Adrian Wojnarowski has a lot of Lakers fans excited, especially since the team has enough assets to pull off a deal for Cousins. There have been a lot of L.A. Lakers trade rumors over the past few weeks, with most of them centering on dealing away veterans in an effort to improve for the 2017-18 NBA season. Players that have been mentioned include Lou Williams, Nick Young, and Jose Calderon.
Wojnarowski states that the Kings are actively shopping him, including open negotiations with the New Orleans Pelicans. The Pelicans could then team him up with Anthony Davis, presenting a very formidable combination in the low post. Would the Pelicans actually be able to put together a package good enough to get Cousins?
A DeMarcus Cousins trade would certainly be considered a "blockbuster" deal if it took place midseason. He joins All-Star players like Jimmy Butler, Paul George, and Carmelo Anthony who have also come up in trade discussions. While it would take a lot for the Chicago Bulls, Indiana Pacers, or New York Knicks to part with their superstar players, it might take even more talent to finally pry Cousins away from the Sacramento Kings. This could be why Cousins has remained in California for so long.
While there are a lot of L.A. Lakers trade rumors on social media right now, most of the ones that involve Cousins are fan created. Many Lakers fans are stating that the team should package a player like Jordan Clarkson and Luol Deng, along with several draft picks, in order to get a deal done. What those Lakers fans may not realize, is that it is going to take a lot more than just Clarkson and a future first-round draft pick to get a deal done.
As far as assets go, the Lakers have a treasure trove that could certainly pique the interest level of the Sacramento Kings. Players could include D'Angelo Russell, Brandon Ingram, Julius Randle, Ivica Zubac, and Larry Nance, Jr. The Lakers would likely have to also deal a veteran with a salary, so any deal would probably include some combination of Nick Young, Jose Calderon, and Lou Williams in order to match the salary of Cousins. Lou Williams is one player the Lakers have been very intent to deal lately.
DeMarcus Cousins makes about $17 million this year, and then will make $18.1 million during the 2017-18 NBA season. He would then become a free agent, but his new team could offer him a hefty contract extension to stay with the franchise. As previously reported by the Inquisitr, it had been rumored that Cousins is interested in signing a deal worth $200 million as soon as he can. This is something the Kings could already offer the All-Star center.
So what makes Cousins worth that much money, and why has he become the focal point of the latest L.A. Lakers trade rumors? The answer is that he has continued to put up stats that rank him among the best players in the NBA. In 55 games this season for the Kings, Cousins is averaging 27.8 points, 10.7 rebounds, 4.9 assists, 1.4 steals, and 1.13 blocks per game. Over his seven-year NBA career, Cousins has averaged 21.1 points, 10.8 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 1.4 steals, and 1.2 blocks per game. Those are numbers that any team in the league would like to see from a starting center.
There are several reasons why these Lakers rumors might not lead to anything taking place. At the top of that list is that by attaining DeMarus Cousins before the NBA trade deadline, it might actually improve the Lakers too much. If the Lakers don't have a top-three pick in the 2017 NBA Draft, then the pick goes to the Philadelphia 76ers. That gives the team added incentive to not improve midseason, but rather to wait until the next offseason. It won't stop new L.A. Lakers trade rumors from flooding social media, but a deal wouldn't be in the best interest of the franchise.
[Featured Image by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images]