The Magic, Kings and Celtics are interested in soon-to-be free agent Kosta Koufos, sources tell Aris Barkas of Eurohoops.net. The Grizzlies would like to keep the Ohio native who also has Greek nationality, though that will have much to do with Memphis’ pursuit of a new deal with Marc Gasol, Barkas hears. The Grizzlies are aware of the desire Koufos has to play a starting role, as Marc Stein of ESPN.com recently wrote, and such a gig wouldn’t be open to Koufos in Memphis if Gasol re-signs.
The interest from Sacramento and Boston dates back to earlier this season, when Brian Windhorst of ESPN.com identified the Kings as among the teams that had called Memphis about trading for the former 23rd overall pick. The Celtics were also one of many who made Koufos trade proposals to the Grizzlies, according to Stein. Orlando is the apparent newcomer among the suitors, but the presence of center Nikola Vucevic, whose incentive-laden, four-year, $48MM extension kicks in next season, would seemingly make the Magic an odd choice for Koufos. Vucevic played occasionally at power forward in the past, as Basketball-Reference shows, but it would nonetheless be a difficult fit if Koufos is to see starter’s minutes. Cousins has played exclusively at center in the NBA, but his athleticism makes him a candidate to see time at power forward if the Kings land Koufos. The Celtics have Tyler Zeller, Jared Sullinger and Kelly Olynyk, among others, jockeying for time on the interior, but Koufos would have as clear a shot at a starting job in Boston as he would anywhere.
The Kings, Celtics and Magic all have the capacity to open enough cap room to give the Mark Termini client a significant raise on this season’s $3MM salary. Sacramento, with about $53MM in commitments, has the least amount of flexibility, but even that provides ample breathing room against a projected $67.1MM cap. The Grizzlies have Koufos’ Bird Rights and can spread their financial offer to the 26-year-old over five years, an advantage other teams don’t have, though just how much of an edge that would really give Memphis remains to be seen.