DeMarcus Cousins has been a popular topic of trade speculation for multiple seasons, which comes as no surprise. Cousins is one of the NBA’s more talented big men, but his Kings haven’t won more than 33 games in a season during the six years he has been in Sacramento, and he hasn’t always seen eye-to-eye with the team’s head coaches.
With another new coach – Dave Joerger – taking over for 2016/17, the Kings and Cousins have agreed to take a “fresh-start approach” to their relationship, according to Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders, who noted this week that Cousins liked the hiring of Joerger. As Kyler details, Sacramento has been turning away any inquiries from rival teams on Cousins, and expects to play out the ’16/17 season with Cousins as the cornerstone of the roster.
Still, Cousins is only under contract with the Kings for two more years, and if the team doesn’t become a playoff contender soon, that summer of 2018 could begin looming larger and larger. As Zach Harper of CBSSports.com writes, many people around the NBA believe Cousins will leave Sacramento when his contract expires, and think the Kings need to seriously consider moving him at some point before then.
“They’re fooling themselves if they think he’s sticking around,” one league executive said to Harper. “The good news for them is his value will always be high. There isn’t a point of no return in which you’re not getting high value for him. Teams will bid against each other in the trade market. Maybe [Cousins] doesn’t go for the biggest money in free agency, but you’d love to have that card to play.”
As dysfunctional a franchise as Sacramento has been for the last several years, Joerger is a well-respected coach, and the team made some solid moves this offseason, inking veteran free agents Arron Afflalo, Matt Barnes, Garrett Temple, and Anthony Tolliver to multiyear deals, and adding three first-round prospects in Georgios Papagiannis, Malachi Richardson, and Skal Labissiere. If the Kings start playing well, Cousins trade rumors figure to remain on the back burner for the foreseeable future. But if the team struggles out of the gate, the rumor mill figures to be more active than ever.
What do you think Cousins’ future holds? Will the Kings ultimately decide to trade him? Will he leave in two years as a free agent? Or will Cousins remain in Sacramento long-term after a rocky first few years with the franchise? Vote in our poll, and weigh in below in our comment section with your thoughts on the All-Star big man.
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