Kings GM Vlade Divac should be calling all interested parties to make the best possible deal for DeMarcus Cousins before the February 23rd deadline, writes Ailene Voisin of The Sacramento Bee. Voisin argues that the franchise doesn’t have enough assets in place to build a contender around Cousins, who will become a free agent in the summer of 2018, and mentions the Celtics, Lakers, Cavaliers, Mavericks, Suns and Magic as possible destinations. Phoenix owns two first-round picks from Miami and has $13MM in available cap space, and GM Ryan McDonough has said he wants to acquire a star. Voisin believes the Kings should insist that Devin Booker be part of any deal with the Suns.
There’s more news out of Sacramento:
- Injuries to Rudy Gay and Garrett Temple have given fourth-year shooting guard Ben McLemore another chance to prove himself, notes Jason Jones of The Sacramento Bee. McLemore returned to the Kings’ starting lineup Friday after losing that position last month and put up a season-high 18 points. He is hoping to finish the season strong before heading into free agency this summer. “Once I knew I was going to get the starting spot, I knew I was prepared,” McLemore said. “But now I’ve just got to go out there and perform and not worry about making mistakes and stuff like that. I’ve been working real hard, and it showed out there on the floor [Friday].”
- The Kings expect to be without forward Omri Casspi until after the All-Star break, according to Matt Kawahara of The Sacramento Bee. Casspi was projected to miss one or two weeks after straining the plantaris tendon in his right calf during a January 16th practice. He was re-evaluated last week and hoped to play this weekend, but coach Dave Joerger said Saturday that the return could take much longer. “I don’t think we’re going to see Omri ’til after the All-Star break,” Joerger said. “That could change, but we’d rather be a little conservative with him.” Casspi has appeared in just 22 games this season, averaging 5.9 points and 4.1 rebounds.
- The injuries have also created an expanded role for first-round pick Malachi Richardson, writes James Ham of CSNBayArea. Richardson has spent much of the season in the D-League, but has been used by Joerger in the past eight games.