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.