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Sacramento Kings’ Divac Proclamation Is Smokescreen For DeMarcus Cousins Trade

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We’ve heard this story before, many times, and at this time it is starting to sound ridiculous. Sacramento Kings’ center DeMarcus Cousins’ name has been, again, linked to trade rumors, this time with an actual package outlined and, yet again, the Kings are doing and saying everything to suggest those rumors aren’t legit.

They are claiming that Cousins is not available.

Let’s stop the ridiculousness.

Sacramento’s dreaded Kings organization has been a complete bumbling mess for the past several years, a mess that goes beyond the talent on the court and spreads into the front office. Void of any clear path or direction and absent any clear level-thinking, the Kings continue to say the things that would suggest they are a soundly-run and cohesive organization with an astute eye on the future, but they are not.

That’s why when Kings’ general manager Vlade Divac yet again stated that the team is not trading Cousins, I laughed.

“We’re not trading DeMarcus,” Divac told ESPN. “We hope he’s here for a long time.”

That, my friends, is a smokescreen. A smokescreen because it’s likely Divac wants to find a way for things to workout where Cousins spends his entire career in Sacramento, but that is unlikely. The reality likely is that everyone else in the organization is sick of Cousins, his drama, his antics, his behavior and realizes they aren’t a playoff team with him, and his baggage, so cutting ties with him doesn’t necessarily sacrifice any playoff hopes.

ESPN reported back in January that the Kings already have begun planning to offer Cousins one of the league’s new maximum Designated Player contract extensions — estimated to be in the $219 million range over five seasons — once the league’s new collective bargaining agreement takes effect later this year (July).

Asked by ESPN on Monday about their intentions, Divac responded: “We are going in that direction.”

Sadly, it’s hard to buy what Divac is selling nor is it easy to buy the idea that Cousins wants to remain in Sacramento for the long term.

Amid all the chaos and drama there is the stench of losing and a feeling that the Kings are no closer to mediocrity or success, one that has to make Cousins feel less inclined to stay for the long haul.

One team that has reportedly been in the mix for Cousins is the Phoenix Suns, and it makes a lot of sense on paper.

According to a report last week from arizonasports.com,  Phoenix has pitched an offer headlined by small forward TJ Warren, center Alex Len and a future first-round pick to the Kings for Cousins. The Suns may be willing to give up more, such as Brandon Knight.

That sort of deal would make a lot of sense for Sacramento. They would be receiving a handful of somewhat proven youngsters, a high end draft pick and perhaps more. It allows Sacramento to wipe the slate clean without completely purging their current roster.

So why would Cousins work in Phoenix?

For one, the culture in Phoenix is much different. Cousins’ former teammate Eric Bledsoe is also in Phoenix and the Suns have a nucleus of young talent that may just be a “Cousins” away from annual deep playoff runs.

Cousins has never played alongside talent such as Bledsoe and Devin Booker during his stint in Sacramento. And the Kings have not had a reported offer close to the one as fruitful as the one reportedly made by the Suns.

If the Suns truly believe Cousins can change in Phoenix, if they truly believe in the strength of their organization, their culture, their locker room, chemistry and leadership, than rolling the dice on Cousins is the right move.

If Sacramento is truly dedicated to a bright future, they pick up the phone and negotiate with the Suns. Field calls. Discuss offers.

Otherwise Divac’s statements are simply smokescreens, not for a potential deal in the works, but as a horrible attempt at diversion, poorly directing people from the divide in the organization. It’s clear that there is a divide about Cousins’ long-term future with the Kings and that there are differing opinions.

If Divac stands his ground he isn’t squashing a trade rumor, he is showing the world just how badly run the Kings are and just how foolish they look in trying to convince us all otherwise.

 

Anthony DiMoro is the creator of Sports Rants and the CEO of Elite Rank Media and DiMoro Enterprises LLC. He is a former Contributor for Forbes and the Huffington Post where he covered sports, social media, and SEO. Anthony hosts the Anthony DiMoro Show podcast, and formerly hosted the 'Forbes SportsMoney Podcast'.

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Indiana Pacers

Clippers’ Paul George Booed by Pacers Fans

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Paul George

Los Angeles Clipper superstar Paul George wasn’t fazed by the relentless boos showered down on him during Monday’s game in Indianapolis against the Indiana Pacers, the team he spent several seasons with before requesting a trade in 2017, in fact, George teased a tell-all in which he will tell his side of the story that led to his trade request, hinting that he is set to take aim at many within the organization.

As far as the boos, George says the fans are booing the wrong people. George, who dropped 36 points in the victory, was booed every time he touched the ball, and was subjected to chants of “Paul George s—!” during the game, was playing back in Indiana for the third time since the trade.

“I’m not surprised,” George said, according to ESPN’s Ohm Youngmisuk. “That’s Indiana for you. It’s a Hoosier thing.”

“You know, someday I’ll do a tell-all and tell the leading events of how I left Indiana,” George said. “And I promise you, I’m not the one to boo.”

“… I’m not gonna share the teaser,” George continued. “… I like being the villain. I’m here two nights out of the year. The people they should boo is here a lot longer than I am.”

George was pressed by the media to divulge details, specifically about general manager Kevin Pritchard who said George’s trade request was like a punch to the gut.

“You’re getting close to trying to get this story out, aren’t you?” George asked. “… I’m not going to bad-mouth KP. That’s just Kevin’s side of the story.”

George has excelled in every game back in Indiana since the trade, and Monday’s game marked the third straight time he scored 31 points or more against his former team. However, judging from George’s post-game comments, he may be saving his best performance yet against the Pacers organization.

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Houston Rockets

Carmelo Anthony Warned Chris Paul About Houston Rockets

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Carmelo Anthony

Portland Trail Blazers’ forward Carmelo Anthony and Oklahoma City Thunder point guard Chris Paul have both spent time with the Houston Rockets, and both had unceremonious exits from the organization.

But upon his exit from the Rockets after only 10 games, Anthony says that his experience prompted him to warn his close friend Paul to “be careful” with the Rockets organization, who ended up trading Paul a few days after general manager Daryl Morrey told Paul they weren’t going to trade him.

Anthony wasn’t shocked at how things played out for Paul in Houston.

“No, I wasn’t surprised at all,” Anthony said, according to ESPN’s Nick Friedell. “When my situation happened in Houston, he was the first person that I called to come to my room. And we had to clear some things up, and I wanted to know if he had anything to do with it. And that was the first thing that I wanted to know, and he told me, ‘No.’ And from that point on, I told him, looked him in his eyes and said, ‘Look, just be careful.’ You know what I mean? Just be careful. And damn sure if [the same situation] didn’t happen to him.”

Paul was dealt to the Thunder over the summer in package that brought point guard Russell Westbrook to the Rockets.

“I was shocked,” Paul said, according to The Undefeated. “Truth be told, I just talked to Daryl a couple days before the trade, and he said he wasn’t going to trade me [to Oklahoma City]. That’s funny because that is going to be the alert that pops up on everybody’s phone because nobody knows that. But what the hell, I just said it.”

“I haven’t talked to nobody in their organization, no,” Anthony said. “I’m not angry. I’m not bitter at it. It happens. I wish I had an explanation when it happened, but I’m past it.”

Anthony also discussed a potential vibe around the league that the Rockets may not forthcoming, with the situations involving he and Paul as examples as to why some may be weary with the Rockets organization.

“Well, nobody has an answer, right?” Anthony said. “My situation and Chris’ situation is totally different, but nobody has an answer. Like, nobody really has an answer for my situation. Still. The only people that know is me. Me and them. That’s it. And I don’t even think they know. It’s just something that was already established before I even got there. It was on a trial-run basis. You look back at it, and 10 games is an evaluation. So that’s the business, right? You see New York have a press conference eight games in, 10 games. So that’s the new analytics. That’s the new game. Everything’s based off of your first 10 games. And once you know that, it gives you clarity on a lot of things.”

Anthony says that he did speak to Paul following Paul’s trade to the Thunder.

“No, he didn’t say I was right,” Anthony said. “He was in Vegas when all of that happened, so we was talking. And when I talked to him, he was like, ‘Man, look, I understand it. It’s messed up, but I understand it.’ And for me, I’m like, ‘Yo, it took me months to kind of, like, get past that.’ My pride was hit. My ego was hit. I had to really get past that. To a point where it was like, ‘Man, Chris, is you good?’ I wanted to make sure he was good. So he told me he was good, and that was that.”

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Los Angeles Lakers

Lakers’ LeBron James Praises Luke Walton

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Los Angeles Lakers’ superstar forward LeBron James is praising former Lakers’ head coach Luke Walton, who is now the head coach of the Sacramento Kings, when the Kings came in to play the Lakers on Friday.

James says that with all the devastating injuries and the non-stop distractions of the constant trade rumors, Walton “did as great of a job as you could do under the circumstances”, according to ESPN’s Ohm Youngmisuk.

Walton was the head coach during James’ first season with the Lakers in 2018-2019 and led the team to a 37-45 record, missing the playoffs.

“Throughout everything that was going on, we were two of the guys that just tried to remain positive and patient, even with the circumstances that we had,” James said during shootaround on Friday.

James reflected on the challenges of last season, pointing to key injuries as contributing factors to the disappointing season.

“I mean, we were right where we wanted to be on Dec. 25, went up into Golden State and played against a very good team and had a very good game,” James said. “And then the injury happened and I’m out 6½ weeks.

“I don’t think anyone could have predicted that, including myself and including Luke. And we were just behind the eight ball. But throughout it all we just tried to remain positive, even throughout with the young guys, with the older guys and whatever the case may be. So I think he did as great of a job as you could do under the circumstances.”

“Um, I agree with LeBron,” Walton said. “[There’s] a longer answer and I’ve spent time reflecting on last season, but for now, couple of hours before a game, it is more focused on tonight’s task and our game planning and rotations and things like that.”

Walton is now at the helm in Sacramento, but he talked about how special it is to return to Los Angeles, even on the opposing side.

“It’s always a special place for me to come into this building,” Walton said. “I have a lot of great memories in L.A. It’s a great opportunity playing here and coaching here.”

“LeBron, he’s one of the greatest players of all time if not the greatest,” Walton said. “So I’m sure last year getting hurt, not making the playoffs, I mean, he’s going right now. And this team kind of follows that lead. They’re playing incredibly well. Their defense and offense starts with him. He looks really good.”

 

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