With DeMarcus Cousins’ latest meltdown in Sacramento it’s pretty clear that a divorce is inevitable. Cousins’ volatility is a bad match for an organisation, that to put it mildly, has no idea. He needs a fresh start, with strong leadership (essential), and the Kings need to strip back this horrible roster. Cousins has a world of talent but he’s a Class-A knucklehead who will never reach his full potential in a wayward organisation.
So let’s take a look at some ideal landing spots for Cousins:
Possibly the perfect situation. The struggling Celtics would surely be up for the challenge of developing Cousins as a franchise center, and he could pair with Rajon Rondo to take them forward into the next era. And it could work in Beantown; they’re a rock solid organisation with a highly respected coach and have Hall of Fame veterans on the roster. And Kevin Garnett would be the perfect mentor for Cousins. As a Celtics fan I’d love to see this happen, just to shake things up a bit. Some combination of Avery Bradley, Jared Sullinger and draft picks (and Boston taking on one of their bad contracts) may be of interest to the Kings.
San Antonio Spurs
Gregg Popovich and the immaculate San Antonio system is exactly what Cousins needs to maximise his talents as an NBA player. Over the next few years he could play alongside and learn from Tim Duncan and eventually succeed him as their centrepiece. But could they swing a deal? Probably not. The Kings would want Kawhi Leonard in return and that’s a no-go, but Tiago Splitter and draft picks would be available. But you can be damn sure the Spurs will kick the tyres on this one.
They wouldn’t do it because they’re risk-averse but eventually Derrick Rose is going to need some help here (offensively) and Cousins could provide it. And they’ve got the structure to accommodate him. Perhaps Taj Gibson and the rights to European stud Nikola Mirotic would be of interest to the Kings.
The Dallas Mavericks are a first class organisation and Rick Carlisle is exactly the sort of no-nonsense coach that Cousins needs, so it could be a great fit. But, the reality is the Mavs have no assets, so a trade would be unlikely (ditto for Miami). Their best bet would be to bid high on him when he’s eligible as a restricted free agent, assuming they still have cap space.
The Andrew Bynum experiment probably won’t work so they need to beat the bushes for a big man. Could he succeed under the emotional Doug Collins? That’s debatable, but a Cousins/Holiday foundation could be good. Philly could offer Evan Turner or Thad Young, which may entice the Kings.
They’re on a good thing now so I am not sure they’d risk it all on Cousins, but they certainly have the assets to get a deal done (Asik, Lin, all their young forwards).
Similar to Houston, they’ve got a good thing going here with some nice young players so I am not sure they’d want to mess it up with Cousins. But they’ve got the necessary assets to make such a deal (Thompson, Varejao, Zeller, draft picks).