DeMarcus Cousins and the Sacramento Kings are entering their seventh season together. But it’s highly unlikely that the All-Star center survives the entire 2016-17 season in Sac-Town.
Word around the league is that Cousins could be shipped by December or at the least by February’s trade deadline.
The Oklahoma City Thunder are viewed as a middle-of-the-pack team in the Western Conference. However, if Russell Westbrook could find a fellow All-Star, they could propel themselves to elite status.
The Thunder have a ton of assets to lure Cousins away from Sacramento.
Enes Kanter, a proven double-double machine, still has at least two guaranteed years on his contract before a $18.6 million player option for the 2018-19 season.
Therefore, the Kings would secure themselves of a starting-caliber center to replace Cousins for at least two seasons.
Kanter is still a pivotal member of the Thunder roster but it seems like Billy Donovan is inclining towards a starting frontcourt of Steven Adams and rookie Domantas Sabonis.
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DeMarcus Cousins for Enes Kanter?
Earlier this year, ESPN insider Chad Ford reasoned why the Kanter-for-Cousins trade is a win-win for both teams.
“Cousins is a huge risk. Talent wise, he’s a major upgrade. But his character would test the Thunder’s culture. If he would buy in, they’d be one of the favorites to win it all. But it’s a big if,” wrote Ford.
At the time, Ford assumed that Kevin Durant would stay put in Oklahoma City. Obviously, that didn’t happen.
Regardless, could you imagine Cousins and Westbrook on pick-and-roll situations? That could be a nightmare to defend.
Earlier this week, ESPN insider Tom Haberstroh reported that there are very strong chances that Cousins would be suiting up for a playoff team next April.
And as expected, he predicted the Thunder to be in the mix as a trade suitor.
“If things don’t fly with Joerger and Cousins, look for teams with attractive assets, such as Boston, Denver (reunion with Mike Malone?) or Oklahoma City, to try to land a star under contract before the trade deadline.
“My growing sense is that Cousins might be playing in the 2017 playoffs — for another team.”
Though the Celtics and Nuggets have interesting assets to offer. A Kanter-for-Cousins swap makes the most sense when you consider their salaries and the fact that Kings would get a proven big man.
ESPN’s trade machine has approved of a direct swap between DeMarcus Cousns and Enes Kanter.
Needless to say, the Thunder could be forced to throw in a few role players to put together a more attractive package.