One of the more popular subjects for NBA trade rumors over the past several months has been Sacramento Kings big man DeMarcus Cousins. Reports have indicated that the All-Star center was possibly being shipped out of town as the team looked to rebuild for the future. However, other speculation indicated that Sacramento wanted to keep Cousins as the foundation of their franchise. So which is it? As the NBA trade deadline approaches, it appears there is finally some clarity with regards to the Kings star and his future.
Just last week, the DeMarcus Cousins trade rumors were kicked into full gear once again. A report came out via Arizona Sports 98.7 FM which mentioned that a possible deal had been discussed between the Phoenix Suns and Sacramento Kings involving Cousins. This particular trade would have sent Suns’ center Alex Len and small forward T.J. Warren, along with some future picks and possibly more to the Kings, in exchange for DeMarcus Cousins.
With Phoenix owning several future picks, as well as two from the Miami Heat in the first-round due to the Goran Dragic trade, the deal could have provided the Kings with a quality point guard. The upcoming 2017 NBA Draft could feature multiple top prospects at the position including Lonzo Ball from UCLA or Markelle Fultz from Washington, as well as other players who are projected lower on the draft board.
However, while that deal was rumored, it’s being called “untrue” by the Sacramento management. As ESPN reported just recently, Kings General Manager Vlade Divac had a meeting with Cousins to let him know he was not on the trading block. He also told ESPN straight up what the team’s position is with regards to their All-Star center.
Divac was steadfast with regards to the notion that as of the February 23 trade deadline, Cousins will still be a member of the Sacramento Kings.
“We’re not trading DeMarcus. We hope he’s here for a long time.”
Apparently, during their face-to-face meeting, Divac made sure to let Cousins know to ignore any trade rumors he might hear over the coming weeks. The Kings GM informed the 26-year-old All-Star that he “is not being made available to interested teams.” It would seemingly end all of the speculation that Cousins is on the way out in favor of rebuilding from the ground up.
That would also fall in line with what was reported back in January, where the Kings would offer Cousins a large contract valued around $219 million for five seasons. That particular deal is expected to happen once the new collective bargaining agreement is in effect in the league this July. That would probably make Cousins even happier to be a member of the Kings franchise.
As of this report, Sacramento is 20-32 in the Western Conference, which is about three games or so behind the No. 8 Denver Nuggets. Other teams vying for that spot include the New Orleans Pelicans (20-32), Dallas Mavericks (20-31), and Portland Trail Blazers (22-30). The Draft Express website projects that Sacramento could have the No. 7 pick in the selection order in June.
For the season, Cousins is putting up 27.9 points, 10.7 rebounds, 4.7 assists, and 1.4 blocks per game. His scoring average is nearly seven points over his career average, while his rebounds are right there with his career numbers. Furthermore, all of those numbers currently lead the team in the categories, showing his immense value. The sixth-year player out of Kentucky was recently named to the Western Conference reserves as a testament to his continued success as one of the league’s top big men.
Even though Cousins brings with him some impressive stats, he continues to bring some on and off court issues as well. Just recently, the Sacramento center was given a one-game suspension from the league. During the team’s loss to the Chicago Bulls on Monday, Cousins picked up two technicals, including one for making contact with the Bulls’ assistant coach, and a second for complaining about not receiving a foul on a missed three-point shot.
As USA Today reported, once Cousins received his 16th technical foul of the season, it means he receives an automatic one-game suspension. In addition to that, he was fined $25,000 for “making an inappropriate statement and (middle finger) gesture” after the Kings win against the Golden State Warriors on Saturday night. For his suspension, Cousins will miss the team’s game against the Boston Celtics on Wednesday.
Despite the NBA rumors and the troubles that DeMarcus Cousins might bring with him, it seems as if Sacramento has made it abundantly clear that they will put up with the drama and antics in exchange for having one of the most productive big men in the league today. Will it be the right move for the Kings’ future, though?
[Featured Image by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images]