Just before the end of the regular season, one that saw the Sacramento Kings miss the postseason for the ninth straight campaign, Sacramento Kings coach George Karl said a very sensible if somewhat too-honest thing about his top player, DeMarcus Cousins.
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“I’ve had some great players and I’ve never had one player that I have said is untradeable,” Karl added. “You always got to be ready for the possibility of a great trade that could come your way.
“I know I respect him (DeMarcus Cousins) a tremendous amount . . . I think our give and take and our communication has been almost on a daily basis . . . until we can really get to a special place together, I think we’ve got to continue to communicate, what he wants and what I want.”
George Karl is also the man who has been on teams that traded Carmelo Anthony, Shawn Kemp and Ray Allen in their primes, and Cousins (an All-Star in 2015) has yet to even work his way toward his. He could be the lead star on a potentially dominant playoff team.
Cousins played in the first year of a five-year, $65 million contract last season, and 29 other NBA teams would happily line up to offer the Kings a package in exchange for his services.
Vlade Divac, the Kings’ new vice president and possibly head of personnel, decided to chide his coach for speaking out of turn in a talk with Sirius XM’s NBA channel on Tuesday, via Pro Basketball Talk:
“Well, I think, you know, Coach kind of step it up further than he should and, of course, everybody has their opinion but right now, if we’re talking about today, yeah, DeMarcus is untradeable. He’s a guy who we’re going to try to build around and see where he’s going to take us.”
Look at big Vlade, there. Swooping in, steppin’ all over the coach he didn’t hire, movin’ right past the general manager he didn’t hire, makin’ it known far and wide that DeMarcus Cousins cannot be had at any price so get your grubby fingers off your cell phone, there, Danny Ainge.
Well, “if we’re talking about today, yeah.”
So, in the end, Divac really just firmed up what we already knew, and what Karl confirmed in April. The Sacramento Kings want to make it work with DeMarcus Cousins because DeMarcus Cousins is a fantastic basketball player that is worth building around. Even now, with the Kings missing out on the playoffs and before the 2016 TV revenue bonanza hits, his maxed-out contract (at an average of $15 million per) still seems like a bargain.
And, for now, he’s not on the trade block. After working through five coaches in three and a half years, the Kings would like to give it a go with Karl at the helm with a full training camp, and a full year. And with Vlade running the summer, this time.
This doesn’t mean that DeMarcus Cousins is untradeable. Two-thirds of last year’s All-Star team probably isn’t untradeable. That’s just how this league works, and Karl (in his fourth decade as a head coach) knows this.
Vlade Divac knows this too. He’s partially telling the truth, definitely hoping it all works out, but also not deadening DeMarcus Cousins’ trade value by copping to the idea that, “yeah, you want to bring up Anthony Davis and we’ll talk.”
The Sacramento Kings remain fluid and funky.
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