Marc Stein: Most teams around the league think that the Pelicans will re-sign Cousins unless he doesn’t want to stay there. (…) I’ve heard Dallas and the Lakers… Those are teams expected to make a run at him.
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The question was put to Nowitzki about how good a center DeMarcus Cousins is right now and how good he also would look in a Mavericks’ uniform next season. “That’s a loaded question,” he said Friday before the Mavericks’ 128-120 win over the New Orleans Pelicans. “He’s an unbelievable player. Probably the best center we have in this league, or one of them. He’s a load down there. He added a 3-point shot last year. He’s one of the toughest players to guard and he can pass, too, out of the double teams. He’s a pretty complete player.
“And as far as a potential Maverick, you never know. Free agency is tough to predict. We’ll see what happens.” Diplomatic, for sure. The Mavericks got a heavy dose of Cousins on Friday night as he finished with 32 points and 20 rebounds in a losing effort. Cousins will hit free agency this summer. He’s become as good and as versatile as any center in the NBA. He’s averaging 26 points, 12 rebounds and five assists per game. The 27-year-old is making better than 35 percent of his 3-point shots and he takes more than six per game.
Tim MacMahon on the Mavericks trying to get DeMarcus Cousins: I’ve been told by people with the Mavericks that “absolutely no way would they touch Boogie”… I also think that I’ve been lied to [laughs].
What if the next great Maverick not only is one of the NBA’s most unstoppable players, but will be in American Airlines Center tonight, more than likely dominating the Mavericks as a member of the Sacramento Kings? So, DeMarcus Cousins, what do you think about the Mavericks’ long-rumored interest in acquiring you? “It’s flattering,” Cousins told me, with a laugh, after the Kings’ Wednesday shootaround at AAC. Then, turning serious, he added of the Mavericks, “I respect them.” “But,” I said, “I’ve also heard that you like it in Sacramento.” “No,” Cousins corrected, “I love Sacramento.”
We also know that the Mavericks philosophically believe that adding a physically imposing center is a key _ if not the key _ step toward returning to the NBA’s elite. We know this from their failed attempts to land big-fish free agents Dwight Howard (2013), DeAndre Jordan (2015) and Hassan Whiteside (2016). Howard and Jordan, not incidentally, were represented by Cousins’ agent, Dan Fegan, who has a strong working relationship with the Mavericks franchise. If you’re doubting the strength of that relationship after Dallas’ failed attempts to sign Howard and Jordan, look no further than Frisco for a clue: On the roster of the D-League Texas Legends is 6-11, 255-pound Jaleel Cousins, DeMarcus’ 23-year-old brother. Unfortunately, the Legends are on a road trip that had them playing in Santa Cruz, Calif. on Monday and on Friday in Idaho. Otherwise, the Cousins brothers would have had a nice in-season reunion because the Kings have been in Dallas for the past three days.
As a committed member of the Kings with a stated love for Sacramento, DeMarcus understandably has no desire to talk at length about the prospect of some day playing for the Mavericks _ and in the same organization as his brother. But when I asked DeMarcus if he believes Jaleel is in a good situation, his answer sounded like good news for fans who like the idea of the Mavericks acquiring DeMarcus. “Absolutely,” DeMarcus said. “It’s the Mavericks. It’s one of the best franchises in the league. Cuban’s a great guy. Rick’s a great guy. He’s under some good people. I’m confident in the franchise and I’m confident in his abilities, as well. I think it’s a good situation for him.”
Chandler Parsons: @espn_macmahon 🤔
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February 19, 2018 | 7:18 pm EST Update
Ian Begley: Knicks are one of several teams to express interest in Troy Williams, per league sources. Williams is expected to make a decision on his next destination soon. The 23-year-old 6-7 wing was waived by Houston to make room for Joe Johnson. NYK has an open roster spot at the moment.
Possibly damaging the Lakers’ “King James” dreams is the franchise playing its own role in making the Cavaliers’ roster more attractive. The Lakers recently traded two of their young talents to Cleveland – easy-scoring guard Jordan Clarkson and high-flying forward Larry Nance Jr. Cleveland acquired a veteran point guard in George Hill who complements James well with his 3-point shooting, ability to be effective without the ball and defense, and also added a talented, athletic and young scorer in Rodney Hood, who could start for a lot of teams.
The new-look Cavaliers sans an injured Kevin Love are 2-0 since the moves and fun to watch again. The Lakers have the ability to sign two major free agents this summer, but the Clippers don’t have that ability until 2019. Trading ex-Clippers star Blake Griffin just months after he signed a five-year contract has to be curious to a prospective free agent as well.“I wouldn’t be surprised if he stays in Cleveland now,” one high-ranking Eastern Conference team executive said. “The Cavaliers put a really good team around him. The Cavaliers have made it really tough for him to decide to leave Cleveland again. The Lakers might have helped them keep LeBron.”
February 19, 2018 | 5:31 pm EST Update
Josh Lewenberg: With the buyout market expected to heat up in the next 10 days and the Raptors still intending to fill their vacant 15th roster spot, one guy to keep an eye on is Orlando’s Arron Afflalo.