The Sacramento Kings are at a crucial point in their rebuild with the No. 6 pick in hand, but during an ESPN Insider chat, Chad Ford of ESPN revealed there are even bigger conversations going on behind the scenes. Several teams are pursuing big man DeMarcus Cousins, and while owner Vivek Ranadive has been reluctant to part with him, Ford's sources tell him Kings vice president of basketball operations Vlade Divac is more open to the idea.
"Let's see if they get an offer that blows them away," Ford pondered. If the Los Angeles Lakers are interested in making a swing at an established talent, they can put together an offer the Kings can't refuse. It wouldn't come at a cheap cost, but the potential is there if LA brings the No. 2 pick to the table.
The Lakers will likely "weigh" making this kind of proposal, as Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak recently said they'd prepare for every scenario heading into draft night. Ultimately, the Lakers' own rebuild with a fresh prospect might be the best move, and it's unlikely a straight swap between the teams would be palatable to Los Angeles or Sacramento. Reports indicate the Lakers would be interested in veteran, All-Star caliber talent in any exchange for the No. 2 pick. Cousins fits the description, but it's not easy to pass up a chance at drafting the player that becomes the next great thing to sweep the NBA, and there's the question of whether or not DeMarcus is that guy.
What else can these two teams bring to the table? The sixth overall pick belongs to Sacramento, which is a high-value asset. The Lakers have an intriguing prospect in Jordan Clarkson who earned All-Rookie honors, and Julius Randle, the seventh pick in the 2014 NBA Draft. They also have picks No. 27 and 34. Ben McLemore could be a name in the mix.
That's quite a collection of goods to work with, and there are plenty of paths for either side to take. Sacramento can push hard for both the second overall pick and Randle. The Lakers can demand Cousins and the No. 6 pick. Either side dumping or collecting salary could come into play, and Cousins' friendly $47.2 million through the next three seasons is another variable to consider. Clarkson could become the immovable block that stops any imaginary potential of this imaginary trade. When teams have all the assets they need to make that kind of offer, it's a playground of possibilities.
Both franchises would have to be willing to take giant leaps of faith in any trade of this magnitude. The Kings have DeMarcus on a cost-controlled contract and don't have to worry about re-negotiating terms with him for years. They can continue rebuilding around him, instead focusing on the best way to make the use of the No. 6 pick. The Lakers are in the infancy of a rebuild and can land either Karl-Anthony Towns or Jahlil Okafor to groom as their very own franchise center. There's nothing imminent, but if teams really are making a push for Cousins, the clock is ticking on his availability.
For once, Kupchak has all the pieces he needs to make just about any trade he could dream of. Instead of wondering how the Lakers will ever put together a trade worth considering this summer, it's whether or not they should.
What do you think about the Lakers making a big offer for DeMarcus Cousins? Do you think the Kings would be interested in a straight swap with the No. 2 pick, or would they demand more? Sound off in the comments!