Inability to trade for DeMarcus Cousins reportedly helped lead to Lakers firings
The failure of Jim Buss and Mitch Kupchak to trade for Cousins may have cost them their jobs
All it essentially took for the New Orleans Pelicans to acquire All-Star big man DeMarcus Cousins from the Sacramento Kings was Buddy Hield and a pair of draft picks, one of which is a second-rounder. The Los Angeles Lakers reportedly were also in the bidding for Cousins and perhaps couldâve offered more, but their rookie Brandon Ingram ended any possible trade discussion with Sacramento.
And while not including Ingram may be a smart long-term approach by the Lakers, in the short-term this decision reportedly hastened the.
According to USA Todayâs Sam Amick, not getting Cousins was the last straw for Buss and Kupchak:
Going after DeMarcus Cousins was Jim & Mitch's last-ditch attempt to save their jobs, I'm told. Jim really wanted him, Mitch handled talks— Sam Amick (@sam_amick) February 21, 2017
Jeanie is done w/ Lakers' inability to get stars in Laker Land, & she had always seemed convinced Cousins could calm down in their setting.— Sam Amick (@sam_amick) February 21, 2017
provides a deeper look at how the Lakersâ inability to get Cousins led to the firing of Buss and Kupchak:
One source close to the situation said Kupchak and Jeanie Buss had not spoken since Nov. 1, despite her role as president of basketball operations and the power that gave her to fire Kupchak, and that her brother had resorted to communicating with his sister only through lawyers. The same source said Jeanie never was informed of a potential DeMarcus Cousins trade over the weekend and described a chaotic scene in which Jim Buss insisted low-level basketball officials âvoteâ on the proposed deal while Jeanie and Magic were left in the dark.
âThis is a perfect example of what needs to change,â the source said.
With Kobe Bryant retiring, this is basically the only season in a long time where the Lakers donât have a star player to build around, or even market the team around. They have plenty of potential with Julius Randle, Jordan Clarkson, DâAngelo Russell and Ingram but the Lakers are still in a rebuilding phase and are by no means competing for a playoff spot.
With the roster they have, the Lakers are still a few years away from really becoming a force in the West again, which apparently is no longer good enough for Jeanie Buss.
Whether or not Cousins would have really made the Lakers into a playoff team is up for debate, but clearly Jeanie Buss wanted that type of move to happen. And because it didnât, she made changes by promoting Johnson and firing Kupchak and her brother.
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