DeMarcus Cousins

Knicks, Lakers Consider Trading For David Lee

1:32pm: The Lakers would be more likely to try to trade for Lee if they miss on their top three free agent targets than they would be to revisit trade talks with the Kings for DeMarcus Cousins, tweets Ramona Shelburne of ESPN.com.

1:27pm: The Knicks have had discussions about reacquiring David Lee, reports Howard Beck of Bleacher Report (Twitter link). It’s unclear whether those talks involved the Warriors or were internal. Lee played the first five years of his career in New York and still owns a home in the area, notes Marc Berman of the New York Post (on Twitter). Golden State and representatives for Lee, a Mark Bartelstein client, have reportedly agreed to work together to find a trade taker for the power forward and his salary of nearly $15.494MM for this coming season as the Warriors seek to lessen their tax burden.

New York is prioritizing free agents, but Lee is a possibility, according to Beck. The Knicks missed out on Greg Monroe, who’s off to the Bucks. They’re meeting with LaMarcus Aldridge, DeAndre Jordan and Robin Lopez, though they seem long shots for both Aldridge and Jordan.

New York could absorb Lee into cap space, allowing the Warriors to move off his entire salary. That would be a boon for Golden State, which figures to pay the tax even if Lee isn’t around but would save on extra penalties if his salary is off the books. Lee fell out of the rotation this past season but has twice been an All-Star.

Kings Reach Out To John Calipari

11:39am: The Kings deny Wojnarowski’s report, tweets Jason Jones of The Sacramento Bee.

11:02am: Calipari, as he’s done in the past, took to Twitter to say that he’s not looking for another job and that the Kings haven’t offered him one. He acknowledged talking to Ranadive about Cousins and No. 6 overall pick Willie Cauley-Stein, but wrote in all capital letters, “I will be at Kentucky.” (All five Twitter links here).

10:16am: Kings owner Vivek Ranadive and other members of his ownership group have spoken with Kentucky coach John Calipari to feel out his interest in coaching the team and running its front office, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports. It would require a multiyear contract worth at least $10MM a year to lure him, Wojnarowski adds, but Sacramento has had lawyers examine the contract of coach George Karl to see if he can be fired with cause for reportedly speaking to other teams to see if he can arrange DeMarcus Cousins a trade, as Wojnarowski details. It’s a long shot that the Kings would be able to terminate Karl in such a way that would allow them to recoup the nearly $10MM in guaranteed money left on his deal, which runs another three years.

Ranadive is going after Calipari in part to see if he can convince Cousins to change his mind about his desire to be traded to the Lakers, according to Wojnarowski, a desire that has reportedly come about amid Karl’s apparent quest to see him traded. Calipari coached Cousins during the center’s lone season at Kentucky.

Hiring Calipari would represent yet another shift for the Kings under Ranadive, who’ve already employed three coaches and two front office chiefs since he took control of the franchise two years ago. League officials and confidants of the owner have tried to prevail upon him to stop his frequent shakeups, sources tell Wojnarowski. Ranadive replaced former GM Pete D’Alessandro atop the front office structure this spring with vice president of basketball and franchise operations Vlade Divac, but executives and agents grew frustrated in dealing with Divac at draft time, as the newly minted executive is unfamiliar with salary cap and collective bargaining agreement rules, Wojnarowski hears. Ranadive considered hiring NBA vice president of basketball operations Kiki Vandeweghe to lead the front office before turning to Divac, Wojnarowski reports.

Calipari has consistently maintained he’s satisfied at Kentucky even as he continues to listen to overtures from the NBA. He had a level of interest in the Pelicans this spring, but New Orleans didn’t want him to lead its entire basketball operation, according to Wojnarowski.

Pacific Notes: Williams, Lakers, Looney

The Kings have expressed interest in bringing forward Derrick Williams back next season, though the organization’s first priority is to upgrade the point guard position, Jeff Goodman of ESPN.com tweets. Sacramento is reportedly interested in the SunsEric Bledsoe, and free agent Rodney Stuckey, as well has been mentioned as a potential landing spot for Rajon Rondo. Williams can become a restricted free agent this summer if the Kings tender him a qualifying offer worth $4,045,894. Here’s more from the Pacific Division:

  • Despite the reports that Kings coach George Karl wants center DeMarcus Cousins traded, Karl is excited to see what a pairing of Cousins and rookie Willie Cauley-Stein can do, Jason Jones of The Sacramento Bee relays (Twitter links). Karl believes the duo will mesh well together because each has a different skillset on defense, Jones adds.
  • The Lakers are expected to try and add a rim-protecting big man, a 3-and-D capable small forward, frontcourt depth, as well as a veteran point guard this summer, Jabari Davis of Basketball Insiders writes. Davis lists LaMarcus Aldridge, Greg Monroe, Robin Lopez, Jimmy Butler, and Wayne Ellington as potential free agent targets for the Lakers.
  • Steve Kerr doesn’t believe that the Warriors winning a championship his first season as coach will increase the pressure on him, but instead, it will allow him to continue to just be himself, Tim Kawakami of The Bay Area News Group writes. “It’s funny you say that because as an observer and an analyst for TNT and even as a player, I always felt that when a coach won a championship, it freed him up to be himself,” Kerr responded when asked if his approach would change next season. “Coaching in the NBA is such a fleeting thing; guys get fired left and right, and so a lot of guys coach out of fear. And they try to hang onto their jobs. I always felt like the ones who won titles were freed up to just do it their way and to not worry about anything.
  • Todd Ramasar, the agent for Warriors draftee Kevon Looney, denied the reports that his client underwent surgery on his hip last year, Diamond Leung of The Bay Area News Group writes. Looney believes that he can continue to play without surgery but will undergo a medical evaluation to determine if a procedure is necessary, Leung adds. “I had suffered a hip injury when I first got to UCLA, and I played the whole season with it,” Looney said. “I went through the [draft] workouts with it. I still can play now. I can play just fine. I can walk good. I’m not hurting right now. I’m looking to the doctors to tell me what they really want to do, but this is an injury that I had, and I can actually play with, and I can actually do well with it.
  • Though the Warriors declined to extend Justin Holiday a qualifying offer, making him an unrestricted free agent this offseason, the team may look to re-sign him for less than the $1.147MM tender it would have required to make Holiday a restricted free agent, Rusty Simmons of The San Francisco Chronicle tweets.

Kings Eye Eric Bledsoe

3:24pm: Suns coach Jeff Hornacek denied any talks with the Knicks regarding Bledsoe, as the coach spoke today on SiriusXM NBA Radio, and as Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic transcribes (on Twitter). “Eric is a big part of our future and there was no entertainment of that,” Hornacek said.

11:00am: The Kings are expected to express interest in trading for Eric Bledsoe, a source tells Sean Deveney of The Sporting News. That wording doesn’t necessarily indicate that Sacramento will indeed pursue him, but the Kings are far more focused on making an upgrade at point guard than potential DeMarcus Cousins trades, a league executive said to Deveney.

Deveney reported a week ago that the Suns had discussed Bledsoe trade scenarios with teams including the Knicks, and while multiple other reports painted a different picture, the Suns would seriously consider trading Bledsoe if they re-sign Brandon Knight, as they’re reportedly set to do. Bledsoe is set to make $13.5MM next season in the second year of a five-year, $70MM deal.

One GM expressed concern over Bledsoe’s long-term health and coachability, and league sources indicate to Deveney that finding a taker for him wouldn’t be easy for Phoenix. The Kings also reportedly have interest in Rajon Rondo, who apparently finds the idea of a one-year deal with Sacramento intriguing, but he, too, carries some negative baggage coming off a disastrous half-season stint in Dallas.

The same league executive who said Sacramento is looking at point guards more fervently than Cousins trades told Deveney that he expects the Suns would be willing to wait to trade Bledsoe until after the market for star free agents dries up around the league, so it doesn’t appear that Phoenix is necessarily in a rush.

Western Rumors: Gasol, Cousins, Aldridge

Marc Gasol has no interest in signing with the Lakers this offseason, Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times reports. The 30-year-old’s lack of interest is primarily because of the uneasy last few years his older brother, Pau, spent with the team, according to numerous people familiar with the situation. The Mavs, Spurs, Knicks and Lakers are reportedly putting together proposals to lure the big man away from the Grizzlies. He made his affection known for the city of Memphis, but has not ruled out any other destination.

Here’s more from around Los Angeles:

  • The Lakers would trade No. 2 overall pick D’Angelo Russell to the Kings if that is what it takes to get DeMarcus Cousins, a league source tells Mark Heisler of the Los Angeles Daily News. However, Heisler adds that a trade isn’t likely. Kings Owner Vivek Ranadive reportedly gave agent Dan Fegan permission to try to engineer trade proposals that would send Cousins to the Lakers, but Kings front office chief Vlade Divac is instead trying to see if the team can mend the relationship with the 24-year-old center.
  • Bresnahan notes in the same piece that LaMarcus Aldridge, who owns a home in Orange County, is a more realistic prize for the Lakers in free agency. The power forward is reportedly growing fond of the team. A maximum salary contract for the big man will cost an estimated $18.96MM and Los Angeles will have some $23MM in cap space once it declines Jordan Hill‘s team option as expected.

Pacific Rumors: Cousins, Lakers, Booker

Kings owner Vivek Ranadive gave agent Dan Fegan permission to try to engineer trade proposals that would send DeMarcus Cousins to the Lakers once Fegan made it clear that Cousins, his client, wanted out, but Kings front office chief Vlade Divac is instead trying to see if the Kings can carry on with both Cousins and coach George Karl, according to USA Today’s Sam Amick“I’ll be honest with you, how I think right now, I think [Cousins and Karl] got the message yesterday,” Divac said on KHTK 1140 Friday (audio link), as Amick relays. “So here I am, and if you’re on board, [you’re] more than welcome. If you’re not, I’ve got to go. I can’t wait. We do have everything except time. We have to go forward and try to make it a healthy environment and try to have a good team for next year. Look, we’re going to have ups and downs in the next couple months. And you’re going to hate me, you’re going to love me, but believe me I’m going to do the best I can to make this thing work. With me, with DeMarcus, with George, or without me, without DeMarcus, without George, I don’t know. But we’ll make it work.”

In other news around the Pacific Division:

  • The Lakers made the right move by selecting D’Angelo Russell over Jahlil Okafor, Scott Howard-Cooper of NBA.com opines. Russell’s ability to score and distribute made more sense than a pairing of Okafor with last year’s lottery pick, Julius Randle, which would have clogged up the middle with two low-post isolation players, Howard-Cooper continues. There are also questions about Okafor’s conditioning, which isn’t an issue with Russell, Howard-Cooper adds.
  • Suns coach Jeff Hornacek has added Jason Fraser to his staff as a player development coach focusing on the team’s big men, Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic reports. The Suns have also added Earl Watson and Nate Bjorkgren as player development coaches since the end of the season, Coro adds.
  • The Suns were pleasantly surprised that Devin Booker dropped to their pick at No. 13 overall, Coro writes in a Q&A with Hornacek. Phoenix expected the Hornets to draft him at No. 9 and tried to trade up but Charlotte instead chose Frank Kaminsky and Booker fell into its lap. “We really thought Devin Booker was going to go nine at Charlotte. That was the big talk,” Hornacek said. “You’re always looking to get up to get a guy you want. Nothing like that happened and, as it went on, we said, ‘We might get him anyway.’ So it worked out well.”

Kings Have Considered Firing George Karl?

FRIDAY, 1:23am: Vice president of basketball and franchise operations Vlade Divac said the issues are between himself and Karl, not Ranadive and Karl, as Jason Jones of The Sacramento Bee relays (Twitter links). Divac didn’t elaborate, but Jones hears that he didn’t like Karl going behind his back to negotiate possible trades. Divac nonetheless added that he has no shortage of respect for Karl and wants to believe that Karl and Cousins can work with each other, Jones also tweets.

“I respect my coach and I think he’s great but he has to trust me to do my job. That’s all,” Divac said, according to Jones (Twitter link).

5:17pm: Credible sources inside the Kings issued strong denials that the team has made Karl’s job status a matter of discussion, tweets Ailene Voisin of The Sacramento Bee.

4:56pm: Karl is no longer in the loop on draft discussions, Gery Woelfel of the Racine Journal Times tweets.

THURSDAY, 4:01pm: Kings owner Vivek Ranadive has considered firing George Karl, according to Chris Broussard of ESPN.com. Ranadive is upset with Karl’s desire to trade center DeMarcus Cousins, according to a source with knowledge of the situation.

No potential replacement for Karl has been mentioned or considered yet, according to Broussard.  Meanwhile, firing Karl will not be a panacea for the tensions between Cousins and the franchise.

If you fire Karl, now you can’t control Cousins because he’ll know he’s running the place,” the source told Broussard. “Now he’ll feel like he’s telling you what to do.”

No firing is imminent, which perhaps explains Broussard’s usage of the past tense in saying Ranadive has “considered” the move, but the owner has broached the subject with team execs over the last few days, per the source.  When Ranadive was considering hiring Karl in February, some members of the organization told him it was a bad idea. Recently, the owner told at least one of those people that he was right.

The Kings hired Karl In February, giving him a four-year deal worth $14.5MM.  Karl is guaranteed $11MM in total.

Lakers Talk Deal For Cousins With Kings

THURSDAY, 3:15pm: The Lakers are unwilling to part with Julius Randle in the Cousins trade talks, Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times tweets. The scribe adds that Randle has dropped 20 pounds and improved his outside shot.

WEDNESDAY, 10:18pm: The Kings and Lakers have exchanged frameworks for potential deals for Cousins, and talks are expected to intensify on Thursday, Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports relays. The Kings have also started to engage with teams and explore possible trade scenarios beyond the Lakers, Wojnarowski’s sources have informed him. Sacramento is reportedly seeking the No. 2 overall pick, Randle, Jordan Clarkson, and other draft assets in return for Cousins, Wojnarowski adds. The Kings would also want to unload forward Carl Landry‘s contract in any deal, according to the Yahoo! scribe’s sources. Los Angeles is currently unwilling to part with Randle, and are reluctant to do so with Clarkson as well, according to Wojnarowski.

3:06pm: Cousins “would not be unhappy” if the Lakers acquired him, a league source tells Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News, and he’d be thrilled if the Kings traded him to a large market or a playoff team, as Medina heard a source familiar with Cousins’ thinking.

WEDNESDAY, 2:23pm: The Lakers are offering the No. 2 pick as the teams continue to talk, reports Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times. L.A. would probably have to include Randle, too, according to Bresnahan, but it’s not clear if he is indeed in any proposal so far.

TUESDAY, 9:17am: The Magic aren’t involved, a league source tells Brian Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel (Twitter link). Randle and the No. 2 pick are “in play” for a trade that brings Cousins to the Lakers, a source tells Chris Mannix of SI.com, who writes in his mock draft. Still, Sacramento would rather take back veterans, as Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports reported overnight.

4:46pm: Kings owner Vivek Ranadive has also made it clear publicly that he doesn’t want to trade Cousins, and that’s been the case privately as well, according to Jones, as well as Sam Amick of USA Today (Twitter links).

MONDAY, 3:54pm: The Lakers, Kings and Magic have had exploratory talks about a proposal that wound send DeMarcus Cousins to the Lakers, reports Marc Stein of ESPN.com. However, the Kings and Sacramento vice president of basketball and franchise operations Vlade Divac continue to insist that Cousins is off limits, Stein notes. Still, the Lakers have “actively pursuing” trade possibilities over the past few weeks to find a way to get the talented 24-year-old to L.A., as Stein details.

Stein mentions the Magic’s Nikola Vucevic as someone who could theoretically step in for Cousins at center in Sacramento, but it’s unclear if Vucevic has been a part of the talks. Stein lists Julius Randle and the No. 2 pick as trade assets for the Lakers, but it’s similarly uncertain whether the Lakers have spoken about giving them up. The Nuggets have drawn increasing mention as a team likely to go after Cousins since Denver’s hiring of ex-Kings coach Michael Malone this month, according to Stein. Still, they don’t have the sort of trade chips that would allow them to compete with the Celtics, whom Stein reported last month were also likely suitors, the ESPN scribe writes. Realistically, a host of teams would seemingly have interest in trading for Cousins, who’d become the top trade candidate on the market if the Kings relent and give him up.

Divac has said time and again that he values Cousins and isn’t looking to trade him, at one point calling him “untradeable.” The notion that he might be on the block was ignited earlier this season amid Sacramento’s pair of midseason coaching changes. Cousins, who connected with Malone, released a statement expressing support for then-candidate George Karl, whom the team has since hired. The Kings also hired Divac late in the season to a role that put him in charge of basketball operations and displaced GM Pete D’Alessandro, who’s now with the Nuggets. Cousins has asked not to be traded, as Jason Jones of The Sacramento Bee notes (Twitter link).

Eddie Scarito contributed to this post.

Karl Wants Kings To Trade DeMarcus Cousins

THURSDAY, 3:12pm: The Kings’ internal dismay with Karl is coming far more from top exec Vlade Divac than Ranadive, according to Marc Stein of ESPN.com (on Twitter).  Meanwhile, all signs currently point to them holding on to the No. 6 pick (link).

1:06pm: Kings owner Vivek Ranadive is frustrated with the Cousins/Karl rift because when he was hired, the coach said he would not be involved in personnel, sources tell Jason Jones of the Sacramento Bee (on Twitter).

TUESDAY, 2:34pm: Divac, sounding irritated, repeated again that he won’t trade Cousins and denied that Karl is making any push for such a deal, as Divac said to Ailene Voisin of The Sacramento Bee (Twitter link).

7:30am: George Karl has an intense desire for the Kings to trade DeMarcus Cousins, and he and some members of the team’s front office have expressed to executives and coaches from other teams that they hope to have owner Vivek Ranadive’s blessing to trade the All-Star soon, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports. Ranadive and vice president of basketball and franchise operations Vlade Divac have nonetheless been adamant about not trading Cousins, and Karl has been trying to recruit Divac and other Kings players to make a push to convince Ranadive to change his mind, according to Wojnarowski.

Cousins is aware of Karl’s push to trade him, and people around the Kings and Cousins increasingly believe that the relationship between the coach and the team’s star is beyond repair. Cousins tweeted emojis depicting a snake in the grass after Wojnarowski’s story emerged late Monday night.

Karl’s insistence that he can’t get along with Cousins has irritated Ranadive, Wojnarowski writes. Ranadive reiterated his long-held stance that he won’t trade Cousins in an interview Monday with USA Today’s Sam Amick.

“We have zero interest in moving Cousins, so I don’t know where that’s coming from,” Ranadive said in reference to the rumor that the Lakers are pursuing Cousins. “But if you like, you should talk to Vlade, because I know Vlade feels exactly the same way. And I’m deferring to Vlade on everything. We have no interest in moving him. From my perspective, it’s really simple: we feel that he’s a one-of-a-kind player, and we have a group of players right now and we’re going to build on it.”

Kings higher-ups believe it’ll be tough to find value for Cousins and believe they have a better chance to find the right trade for Rudy Gay, according to Wojnarowski. Sacramento is pursuing trades for Gay and the rest of its roster, Wojnarowski hears. The Lakers are reportedly pushing for Cousins and have had exploratory talks with the Kings, but Sacramento would rather take back veterans than the No. 2 overall pick, the Yahoo! scribe writes.

Cousins has privately feared that Karl wanted him out, and Karl’s remark in April that he’s never had one player who would be untradeable didn’t exactly assuage those concerns, tweets Jason Jones of The Sacramento Bee. Cousins, who is a Relativity Sports client, and his representatives have been told he won’t be traded, and Cousins likes Sacramento, Jones also tweets. Amick hears a somewhat different story, that Cousins’s camp is clearly in favor of the center becoming a Laker. Cousins has asked not to be traded, according to Jones, so it would seem there are conflicting messages surrounding the talented 24-year-old big man.

Latest On Ty Lawson, Nuggets, Kings

2:22pm: Karl is “enamored” with the notion of trading for Lawson, Kenneth Faried and Wilson Chandler, Berger writes in another piece, presumably in a deal that sends out Cousins. The Nuggets are open to trading Lawson and Chandler, but the Poison Pill Provision attached to Faried’s recently extended contract would make the salary-matching cumbersome for any deal involving him before July, Berger adds.

TUESDAY, 10:45am: Karl would consider trading Rudy Gay for Lawson, a source told Chris Broussard of ESPN in a story that centers on Kings owner Vivek Ranadive’s unwillingness to allow any DeMarcus Cousins trades. That would seemingly throw Karl’s ability to engineer a Gay-Lawson trade through Kings front office chief Vlade Divac into question, though that’s just my speculation.

MONDAY, 5:24pm: The Nuggets and Kings have discussed a deal involving Ty Lawson, but the sides have found little traction, league sources tell Ken Berger of CBSSports.com. Chad Ford of ESPN.com suggested as much in a recent chat. Sacramento has been pursuing Lawson from Denver with the sixth pick at the heart of would-be deals, as Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders wrote in his NBA AM piece earlier today. Kyler nonetheless hears that Denver’s demands for Lawson are too high for the Kings and that Sacramento isn’t on board with giving up the No. 6 choice and future draft picks for Lawson.

Still, the Kings continue to make Nik Stauskas available, Berger reports, while the Nuggets are involved in a potential trade scenario that would send their No. 7 pick to the Knicks, an executive from another team told Berger. The Nuggets would also give up the right to swap first-rounders with the Knicks next year, one that they gained via the Carmelo Anthony trade, in such a deal, Berger adds.

Kings coach George Karl would reportedly love for the team to acquire Lawson, whom he coached with the Nuggets. Still, Denver was asking for multiple first-round picks for him at the deadline, as Grantland’s Zach Lowe reported.

Stauskas, whom Sacramento took eighth overall last year, became available as early as this past January, as Berger reported then. Knicks president Phil Jackson has expressed a willingness to trade back from the No. 4 pick, and speculation has resulted in numerous such scenarios.