WEDNESDAY, 10:51am: The Celtics and Kings still haven’t had any conversation about Cousins, tweets Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald. Kings GM Vlade Divac indicated that he hasn’t received a ton of calls about Cousins and again signaled that he has no intention of trading the star center, according to Sam Amick of USA Today (on Twitter).
3:37pm: Heat sources who spoke with Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel deny any link between Whiteside and Cousins (Twitter link).
TUESDAY, 2:19pm: The Heat, Bulls and Celtics are actively pursuing DeMarcus Cousins, though the Kings have no plans to make a deal, league sources tell Michael Scotto of SheridanHoops. The teams are nonetheless actively pursuing the Sacramento center, and Miami is offering Hassan Whiteside, Justise Winslow, plus others with enough salary to make a deal work, according to SheridanHoops founder Chris Sheridan. Miami would have to give up significantly more salary than the $3,463,068 that Whiteside and Winslow make to reel in Cousins, who makes nearly $15.852MM, however. The Heat are a taxpaying team, so they can’t take in any more than 125% plus $100K of what they give up in a swap.
A source tells Scotto that the Bulls are looking to find more playing time for rookie Bobby Portis, who’s stuck in a crowded frontcourt that features Joakim Noah and Pau Gasol, who can both become free agents this summer, along with Taj Gibson and Nikola Mirotic. Noah and Gibson are available, according to Scotto, though Bulls sources insist to Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders that a Noah trade is not a consideration. The Celtics have copious draft assets, with as many as five extra first-round picks coming their way, though it’s unclear exactly what they’re willing to put on the table.
Cousins is signed through 2017/18, unlike Whiteside, who’s poised for free agency this summer. The Heat only have Early Bird rights on Whiteside, so they can’t exceed the cap to pay him more than the estimated average annual salary for next season, an amount that’s likely to come in far beneath his market value. Sacramento or any team that would trade for Whiteside would inherit those rights, so the Kings wouldn’t necessarily have any easier time re-signing him than the Heat would.
The Kings have held steadfast to Cousins in recent months after a flurry of rumors over the summer. They would have taken D’Angelo Russell, Jordan Clarkson, Julius Randle and a late first-rounder from the Lakers in exchange for Cousins in the offseason, but the Lakers were unwilling to do such a deal, according to Sheridan.