DeMarcus Cousins could be sporting a Los Angeles Lakers jersey before the February trade deadline. The Lakers are willing to offer the trio of Roy Hibbert, Julius Randle and Jordan Clarkson.
While Sacramento Kings’ management has been reluctant to part with their superstar big man, recent disciplinary issues involving Cousins has made the blockbuster trade almost inevitable.
During the off season, Lakers and Kings indulged in trade talks for Cousins. At the time, Kings wanted the No 2 overall pick (D’Angelo Russell), Julius Randle and Jordan Clarkson. However, Lakers refused to give up all three young prospects. As it turns out, the Lakers are willing to give up Randle and Clarkson, after Larry Nance Jr moved into the starting role at Power Forward.
Even though Cousins’ trade value has diminished due to his disciplinary issues, he is the consensus best big man in the league. This season, Cousins is averaging 24.3 points, 10.3 rebounds and 1.4 blocks.
Lakers are set on D’Angelo Russell as their point guard of the future. Therefore, they are willing to sacrifice Clarkson. Though Randle has performed admirably, after missing the entirety of his rookie season due to an injury, the Lakers coaching staff is happier with the more NBA-ready Nance Jr.
Accord to the ESPN’s NBA Trade Machine, a direct swap between Roy Hibbert (Salary: 15,592,217) and DeMarcus Cousins (15,851,950) can also be executed. However, Kings would need the services of younger players such as Clarkson and Randle to justify the big trade. If Lakers are willing to give up Louis Williams, the Kings would be compelled to add Darren Collision to the package.
Through the trade, Kings can unite Kentucky standouts Willie Cauley-Stein and Julius Randle in the front court. Also, they get a future all-star in Clarkson, who can be paired with Rajon Rondo and Ben McLemore as promising backcourt. In Hibbert, Kings get a proven defensive anchor and able mentor to Cauley-Stein. Remember, Hibbert’s expiring contract puts pressure on him to return to his All-Star form to gain a hefty contract next summer. Sacramento could be the ideal destination for Hibbert.
Expect this trade to go down in the near future. If Kings demand D’Angelo Russell, the Lakers could shy away from pulling the trigger. However, they could simply replace Clarkson with Russell and proceed anyhow.