DeMarcus Cousins might finally be ready to check out of Sacramento.
The ultra-talented forward scored just 13 points on 4-of-15 shooting on Wednesday in a 107-102 Kings home loss to the Heat. The 13 points was a season low for Cousins, who had been AVERAGING 30.9 points per game in his previous 10 games, and came against one of the worst teams in the league in Miami (11-26).
What’s been keeping Kings owner Vivek Ranadive from trading his star this season is the fact that Sacramento might still be able to get a couple of home playoff games this coming spring. The Kings are currently the No. 8 seed in the West despite their sub-.500 record (15-20), and could very well have the right to be swept by the Warriors in the first round if they decide to keep Cousins. Ticket sales are surely important to Ranadive, as pointed out by Tas Melas of NBATV’s The Starters recently.
““If you trade Boogie Cousins, what are you telling those fans?” he said. “What are you leaving those fans with? Their second best player, Rudy Gay, already said he’s leaving. After that? What is there?”
The summer of 2018, when Cousins will be a free agent, is fast approaching and there’s no doubt Boogie would leave Sac Town for greener pastures if given the opportunity. Ranadive has to decide whether or not one-and-a-half more mediocre seasons of the Boogie-led Kings is worth it, or if the best route is to go all 76ers and create an under-22 super team through the draft. That’s where the Celtics come in.
The time is now
It’s becoming more and more likely that the Nets pick that the Celtics have the right to swap for this summer is going to be a top three pick (Brooklyn currently has the worst record in the league). That has to be appetizing for the Kings, who remarkably – despite all their ugly recent history – haven’t had a top three pick since 1991 (Billy Owens at No. 3).
Celtics boss Danny Ainge obviously didn’t say the Kings specifically were openly chatting with him about the Brooklyn pick, but he did say there’s already great trade interest in the pick with the NBA trade deadline now 49 days away.
“Yes, they have,” Ainge told 98.5 The Sports Hub when asked if teams have been calling about the Nets pick. “Nothing’s close or imminent, but yeah – there are people calling. It’s a valuable pick, so we’re going to explore that.”
While the obvious thing to do would be for Ainge to pump up the top of the draft, he actually told 98.5 that he thinks the top of this year’s draft class is relatively deep and that there’s not one or two clear-cut players at No. 1 and No. 2.
“Every draft is different,” he said. “I think, sometimes the top one is better than other drafts, and the top two. This one is a little more equal. We have people all over the world evaluating (draft talent) as we speak. So I think that, at this point, yeah – there’s four or five guys and there’s no separation at the top of this draft.”
In Metro’s most recent mock, we had Kansas’ Josh Jackson going No. 1 overall.