After reported dialogues with top members of the front office, new Sacramento Kings head coach George Karl may just get his wish.
With the NBA Draft only hours away, the Kings are reportedly working on a deal that would send All-Star power forward DeMarcus Cousins to the Los Angeles Lakers or to other teams, according to Yahoo Sports Adrian Wojnarowski.
Karl, who was only named head coach of the Kings back in February, has tried to push management to move Cousins and now the 24-year-old may not want to play under Karl next season.
The report stressed that while the Kings have said publicly that they have “zero interest” in moving the talented big man, in private they are trying to work out a deal for their best player.
A proposed framework would involve the Lakers sending the No. 2 overall pick in Thursday night’s draft, along with 2014 first-round pick and forward Julius Randle and All-Rookie team point guard Jordan Clarkson to Sacramento for Cousins. The Kings are also trying to offload veteran forward Carl Landry’s contract, which has two years and $13.5 million remaining.
However, the Lakers are reticent to part with Randle or Clarkson, two solid players who could be part of the foundation to the team’s future. Randle missed the majority of last season after breaking his leg, but was the No. 7 overall pick in last year’s draft and was a highly-touted prospect before the crippling injury.
Its also possible that with Cousins upset by Karl’s attempt to shuttle him out of Sacramento, that the Kings are only telling Cousins they are exploring deals without any serious intent to move him.
Cousins is coming off his best season as a pro with better than 24 points and 12 rebounds per game, and he’s widely considered as the best young center/forward in the league, a building block or franchise type player.
Which is why L.A., hoping to send its rebuilding process into warp speed rather than waiting for a prospect like Duke center Jahlil Okafor or Ohio State point guard D’Angelo Russell to develop, desires a deal for Cousins.
Yahoo also indicated that Karl’s old team, the Denver Nuggets, are trying to be the third partner in a three-way trade that would eventually put point guard Ty Lawson in Sacramento.
Lawson flourished under Karl while he was in Denver, and he’s reportedly interested in a reunion. With 15.2 points and 9.6 assists per game, Lawson would certainly fill the Kings most glaring need for the better part of a decade at point guard but it would potentially cost them Cousins. Kings owner Vivek Ranadive might be holding up the deal because Denver hired both former Sacramento coach Mike Malone and general manager Pete D’Alessandro.
The Nuggets themselves appear to be one of the biggest movers and shakers leading up to the draft with Yahoo's Marc Spears reporting they’ve put forward Danilo Galinari on the trade block. The former Knick is a quality shooter who can also put the ball on the floor, averaging 12.4 points and 35 percent from three-point range last season.
But injuries have plagued the Italian. Out of a potential 246 games, Galinari played in only 173 the last three seasons.
Turning to deals that have actually been completed, the Charlotte Hornets will receive young guard Jeremy Lamb from the Oklahoma City Thunder in exchange for the contract of veteran forward Matt Barnes, according to the Charlotte Observer. Though Barnes isn't expected to play for Charlotte.
In their attempts to add more scoring, yesterday the Hornets also finalized a deal with the Portland Trail Blazers for small forward Nicolas Batum, with guard Gerald Henderson and second-year forward Noah Vonleh going to Portland.