If you hadn’t noticed already, today is December 15. For the majority of people, it’s just another Tuesday. For NBA fans, however, Christmas has come ten days earlier.
On this day every year, teams are granted the ability to include players who signed contracts in the preceding offseason in trades. With more players suddenly eligible to be moved, the market annually begins to heat up around this time, as do the crazed trade proposals, theories and rumors that circulate throughout social media.
Knowing this, as if on cue, SheridanHoops.com has come to the party by dropping a rather timely nugget, stating that the Sacramento Kings are fielding calls of interest for star center, DeMarcus Cousins.
This isn’t overly surprising. It seems as if the routinely disgruntled Cousins is perpetually on the trade block, so why should this season be any different?
What is surprising, however, is one of the team’s gauging the Kings willingness to deal Cousins is none other than your Chicago Bulls. Here is the key excerpt from the article:
As for Chicago, the Bulls are loaded with expendable frontcourt talent. Joakim Noah’s $13.4 million expiring contract and Taj Gibson are available, along with a young asset or draft pick. With former first-round pick Bobby Portis stuck behind a crowded frontcourt, Chicago is looking to clear a path for him to play more, one source said.
Naturally, with the Bulls having a glaringly obvious roster imbalance that requires immediate attention this season, fans all over have embraced the idea of potentially landing a marquee talent like Cousins, who has still yet to reach his prime. Only earning $14.7 million in 2015-16 whilst putting up 25.2 points and 10.6 rebounds per game, Cousins provides incredible value, both in play and contract.
I would be lying if I said I had no interest in DeMarcus Cousins, but should we really be buying into this rumor?
It's refreshing to hear that the Bulls have interest, but do they really?
Notoriously reluctant to make trades for established players, are we really meant to believe that the organisation is prepared to do a back flip on their usual modus operandi, particularly for a player with perceived cultural issues like Boogie Cousins?
Further to this, have the Kings given any inclination that they’re prepared to move on from Cousins? The may not, but they appear to be listening.
Sacramento is listening, but the Kings are in a holding pattern and currently have no plans to make a deal despite sitting in 13th place in the 15-team Western Conference, the sources said.
Listening to a rival GM plead his case for a trade is one thing, being convinced that their offer is beneficial, is another.
In order for a trade to be approved between parties, Chicago will need to involve several pieces. Currently, they don’t have any enticing veterans playing well enough to command the attention of the Kings front office, nor do they have any younger pieces who would be viewed as potential building blocks.
Given this, the Bulls would need to compile an offer that includes a combination of; a veteran(s), a younger player(s), and several draft picks. An example deal could be; Taj Gibson, Nikola Mirotic, Doug McDermott and two future first-round picks for Cousins.
In the above deal, the salaries match. The Kings would likely also need to send one or more low value pieces back to Chicago to balance the players outgoing within the transaction to ensure that no more than 15 players exist on each team’s roster.
Instead of delving into an endless amount of hypothetical deals, the more fascinating question in all these rumors is, even if Gar Forman can put his best offer forward, would it be enough to strike a deal?
We must also consider several other variables that could easily leave any offers from Chicago null and void.
Included in this rumor, are the Boston Celtics. Matching salaries would be simple for the Celtics, who could easily include David Lee’s expiring deal to pass CBA requirements. The Celtics offer could quickly become appealing to Divac & Co if Danny Ainge were to make available the Brooklyn Nets pick, an asset owed to Boston as part of the Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce trade.
As the Nets continue to struggle this season, there is a very real chance that their pick – which remains unprotected - materializes into a top-3 selection. This future asset as a central piece to a deal, has the ability to undermine any future first-round pick that the Bulls could potentially offer. Ainge is also armed with a plethora of additional first-round picks that he could use to sweeten the deal, not to mention recent draftees such as Marcus Smart.
Objectively, assuming the Kings would be looking to rebuild, Boston’s offer surpasses anything Chicago could possibly offer. Should Sacramento want more experienced, ready-made players, perhaps the Bulls could pose a better solution?
Of course, this all assumes the Kings would be willing to deal Cousins.
After a tumultuous start, Cousins and Karl appear to be getting along. Rajon Rondo, the Kings’ major free agent acquisition, has been more than willing to feed his big man all over the court, and in turn, has forged a strong partnership with his dominant center. More importantly, however, the Kings will be entering into a new arena next season. Moving into a new building with no star on the roster presents a real risk for Sacramento, one they may not be willing to take.
So, this rumor becomes much more than just player-for-player swaps. Its impact extends further than the simplistic on-court dynamics that fans theorize over constantly. The economics from all vantage points will considered, as they should.
Let’s see how this all transpires over the coming weeks, but don’t hold your breath on Boogie being a Bull.
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