Stein/Lowe On Cousins, George, Noel, Monroe

In a Wednesday edition of The Lowe Post podcast, ESPN’s Marc Stein and Zach Lowe discussed several teams who could make a trade at some point this season, and several players who are candidates to be moved. Both ESPN reporters agreed that the Trail Blazers are one of the most likely clubs to complete a deal within the next three months, with Lowe suggesting he’d be “blown away” if Portland doesn’t make at least one trade. Stein also identified the Kings, Suns, Nuggets, and Celtics as clubs to watch for potential deals.

Here are several more highlights from the discussion:

  • “I’ve had a couple guys from other teams tell me they’re hearing that the Kings are starting to get sick of [DeMarcus] Cousins, whatever that means,” Lowe said at one point. Lowe added that there are so many voices involved in the Kings’ decision-making process – in ownership and the front office – that it’s hard to know exactly what the team is thinking. Some decision-makers may want to move Cousins, while others would rather keep him.
  • During the conversation about Cousins, Stein said that the latest word out of Sacramento still suggests the Kings don’t want to move their star big man, though teams around the NBA think the Kings will – or should – make a move by the deadline to maximize Cousins’ value. In Lowe’s view, at least one or two suitors would be willing to give up “a lot” for Cousins, despite the posturing going on at this point to downplay his value.
  • Both Stein and Lowe are frequently asked whether Paul George might become available, and Stein points out that if teams are asking reporters about it, they’re probably asking the Pacers as well. George is extension-eligible and Indiana has expressed interest in locking him up to a max deal, but nothing has happened so far, so teams may sense an opening. However, Lowe hears that most people expect Pacers president Larry Bird to “take it to the end” with George, and to avoid trading him at all costs.
  • Lowe confirms a couple trade rumors that have been reported in the past, noting that the Raptors and Sixers discussed a possible deal that would have sent Nerlens Noel to Toronto for Terrence Ross and at least one other piece. The Pelicans have also had “semi-serious talks” with the Bucks about Greg Monroe over the course of the last six to 12 months. Nothing is imminent on either front though, and Lowe isn’t sure exactly what New Orleans would give up for Monroe.
  • Stein and Lowe both agree that Monroe’s trade value is very low, with Stein observing that there’s more supply than demand for big men on the trade market right now. Lowe also wonders how Monroe will handle his 2017/18 player option (worth nearly $18MM) if the Bucks keep him and continue to bury him in the rotation, crushing his value — he could exercise it out of spite, or opt out if he badly wants to find a better situation.
  • According to Lowe, the Mavericks were among the teams hoping Dennis Schroder would reach free agency in 2017, but his new extension with the Hawks took that possibility off the table.
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