You can strike one name off the big names who could be dealt at the NBA Trade deadline. Sacramento Kings GM Vlade Divac told ESPN on Monday night they will not be trading the All-Star big man at the deadline, or any time in the foreseeable future.
In his strongest public statement to date on the subject, Sacramento Kings general manager Vlade Divac told ESPN on Monday that All-Star center DeMarcus Cousins is going nowhere before the Feb. 23 trade deadline.
Amid recent reports that the Kings had engaged the Phoenix Suns in talks involving Cousins, as well as suggestions that some in the organization were advocating a trade, Divac insisted by phone that any such speculation was untrue."We're not trading DeMarcus," Divac told ESPN. "We hope he's here for a long time."
This makes sense. It does. The Kings are unlikely to get another talent like Cousins. Even if they tank, their draft pick likely will not produce a player as good as Cousins. The new CBA allows them to offer a $200 million extension next season, which he's reportedly amenable to. The Kings are also very unlikely to get good return for Cousins, given his attitude and baggage, combined with the perception that Sacramento is a general mess.
And Cousins has committed himself to the city. He's a fixture in the community, and clearly wants to win there, after everything the team has been through. The superstar wants to stay there, you keep him. It's really that simple.
But there are dangers there. This situation has been poison for a long time. There are positive signs with Dave Joerger in control, but the Kings roster doesn't make much sense, they haven't established a young core, and oh by the way, the Sixers have rights to a pick swap this season. You keep thinking the situation will get bad enough to force a change, that the latest blowup, pick your favorite, will be the one that causes both sides to agree to a divorce.
But instead, the Kings and Cousins seem comfortable being handcuffed together. The Kings might be a dysfunctional franchise, but they are Cousins' dysfunctional franchise. Cousins might be a compromised, flawed megastar, but he's Sacramento's compromised, flawed megastar. So the beat goes on. You can take Cousins off your list of potential superstar players who could tilt the scales of the playoffs in trade this season. He's staying home.
(Unless the Kings' ownership group has another internal civil war and in the ensuing madness they trade Cousins, which isn't out of the realm of possibility. Probably. Maybe.)