A common mistake is to assume that since the Lakers cut Cousins this season, they won’t be able to re-sign him. That’s simply not the case. If rosters expand to 17 players (or if they stay at 15 and the team makes a cut), L.A. could certainly bring Cousins back for the stretch run. Perhaps the confusion is a similar rule. Had Los Angeles traded Cousins to another team and that franchise then chose to release him, the Lakers would be barred from bringing the center back as a free agent this season.
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So is he a possibility for the Lakers? “Maybe,” one Western Conference executive said. A former executive said of Cousins and the Lakers, “That’s the only team. He respects [LeBron James], and he’s [Anthony Davis’] boy. [Other teams] don’t want that distraction. There’s a small window of time to play, and you can’t let up.”
Agent, Jeff Schwartz of Excel Sports told ESPN Cousins’ deal is worth $2.3 million.
“Not many of these wings or point guards are going to want to partner with LeBron,” said an assistant GM. “LeBron’s best chance at getting another star with him is going to be Anthony Davis, Boogie Cousins, the bigs.”
Sam Amick on DeMarcus Cousins: “I don’t know much this is worth in terms of his decision-making, but I’ve definitely heard that [DeMarcus] is extremely interested, if not obsessed, with the idea of playing with LeBron James. That may be a little strong, but it’s a really compelling idea for him. LeBron has called him ‘the best big man in the league’ before and my understanding is that LeBron is, at a minimum, intrigued. I think he has questions about what it would be like to play with him, but respects the heck out of his talent. That’s an interesting possible landing spot for him… I wouldn’t be shocked if he went there. I’ll be honest. I know it sounds crazy, and we don’t know what that deal would look like, but it’s not even just his interest in LeBron. That’s [a factor], but this is sort of a perfect storm because he’s always had an affinity for the Lakers in general. When the Lakers were at their worst, they still interested DeMarcus. I think he would like to play on that stage… But the pragmatic thing [to do] is go back to New Orleans, but I don’t know what that deal would look like.”
ESPN Insider Bobby Marks said it is going to be “extremely hard” for the Lakers to try and strike deals for Cousins or Spurs target Kawhi Leonard now that they have no salary cap space to wiggle with. “Boogie Cousins is unrealistic (for the Lakers),” Marks said.
Signing Boogie Cousins could be a sweetener for LeBron. In January 2017, James called Boogie, “the best big man in our game.” LeBron’s praise of Cousins came before the New Orleans big man had suffered a major injury, but sources say he remains interested by the idea of playing with Boogie.
Other than the Lakers, the Pelicans might not have much other competition for Cousins. The Mavericks were once interested, but already verbally agreed to sign center DeAndre Jordan. The Wizards are considered a sign-and-trade possibility, though sources have told me that’s a longshot, with Suns center Alex Len a more realistic target. That leaves the Lakers and Pelicans.
Brad Turner: Can confirm Lakers have talked with center DeMarcus Cousins about setting up a meeting. No date yet, per source.
Marc J. Spears: New Orleans Pelicans All-Star free agent center DeMarcus Cousins received calls from the Pelicans and Los Angeles Lakers tonight once free agency began and is expected to have meetings scheduled with both teams soon, a source told ESPN’s The Undefeated.
Kevin O’Connor: DeMarcus Cousins sounds like an increasingly likely target for the Lakers on a short-term max contract now that it appears Los Angeles will lose out on Paul George, per league sources. In January 2017, LeBron James called Cousins “the best big man in our game.”
Bryan Kalbrosky: There is a false quote circulating from a David Griffin (@dg_riff) interview on @SiriusXMNBA. It says he thinks Lakers will get DeMarcus Cousins and one of LeBron, Kawhi or PG. But Griffin said he had no info and the context was “gun to the head, where would they go?”
When Larry Nance Jr. hears rumors about LeBron James, Paul George and/or DeMarcus Cousins potentially joining the Lakers, does he get excited? “Um, hmm. So-so. I mean, like I said, there are rumors that LeBron is going to go [everywhere]. There are rumors about everything. Obviously, everybody knows about the Paul George stuff and that whole saga. Now there’s [talk like], ‘LeBron may come to L.A. and he just bought a house there]!’ And yeah, we read all of that. We read all of the clickbait stuff. But in reality, we’re just focused on what’s in front of us. We’re just trying to be the best team we can be and if someone like LeBron James or Paul George or one of those stars does come here in the summer, then it’s like, ‘Whew! That would increase our win total by, like, 20!’ You read it. You look at it. But in terms of paying attention to it? Not too much.”
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.
According to NBA insider Eric Pincus, the Lakers will target both DeMarcus Cousins and Paul George closer to the NBA Trade Deadline. “Plan A for the Lakers is still LeBron James. Having said that, at the deadline, the Lakers have two targets: Paul George and DeMarcus Cousins. I think George is more of a long shot since the Thunder seem to have figured things out over the last 10 games. However, the Pelicans are a different story because they’re just above .500. If they don’t climb the standings, they will be open to move Cousins,” Pincus said during the LakersNation Podcast.
Sirius XM NBA: . @Adrian Wojnarowski says on our air that it came down to the #Lakers & #Pelicans & that Kings management & the owner went with NOLA’s deal
Sean Cunningham: Karl Book: 6. Kings talked to Lakers re: trading Cousins 7. Ranadive talks to John Calipari a lot 8. Ranadive committed to star player
The Lakers would be selling low, anyway. Their young guys might be considered more unproven than intriguing, though opinions about them among rival front offices are all over the place. Some executives would trade Ingram and Russell for Cousins today. Others consider that lunacy.
In recent weeks, Sacramento ownership’s intrigue with Calipari has only grown with the dissolution of the relationship between All-Star center DeMarcus Cousins and coach George Karl, sources said. Calipari coached Cousins at Kentucky for a season in 2009-10, and Ranadive believes Calipari could help serve as a mechanism to convince Cousins to back away from his desire to be traded to the Los Angeles Lakers, sources said. As much as anything, Calipari represents one more potential change of direction, as well as a public-relations splash for Ranadive.
Ramona Shelburne: Lakers remain interested in Cousins, but aren’t in pursuit right now. They love Russell and want to keep him. Focus is on free agency now
So when Fegan tried to orchestrate a trade that would send Cousins to the Los Angeles Lakers in the days leading up to the draft – one that Kings owner Vivek Ranadive gave him permission to pursue when he made it clear that Cousins wanted out – it wouldn’t have shocked anyone if Divac decided to do the deal just to quiet this storm. Instead, he’s trying to fix a fractured situation on his terms.
If the Lakers and Sacramento Kings halted talks about DeMarcus Cousins before the NBA draft, it remains to be seen if that was merely a pause. A league source tells Forbes.com that the Lakers would still trade newly-drafted D’Angelo Russell for Cousins. Crazed as it was to even discuss sending such a potential force to a division rival, the Kings did, although with an astronomical asking price: The Lakers’ No. 2 pick which became Russell, Julius Randle, Jordan Clarkson, and more future picks. That makes a deal unlikely, unless ride-the-wind-reap-the-whirlwind Sacramento owner Vivek Ranadive changes his mind, again.
Jake Fischer: A disgruntled DeMarcus Cousins’ representatives initiated the trade discussions between Kings and Lakers, according to a league source.
DeMarcus Cousins: League source familiar with Cousins’ thinking: “DeMarcus wants to be a Laker. It’s up to the two sides to make a deal.”
Kings vice president of basketball operations Vlade Divac has pursued a possible deal that would include a bevvy of assets, including the Lakers’ No. 2 pick in Thursday’s NBA draft, rookies Julius Randle and Jordan Clarkson and other draft assets, league sources told Yahoo Sports. Sacramento also would want to unload the remainder of forward Carl Landry’s two years, $13.5 million contract, league sources said.
The Lakers and Sacramento Kings continue to discuss a trade for Kings All-Star center DeMarcus Cousins, according to a person familiar with the situation. The Lakers’ offer includes the second overall pick in Thursday’s NBA draft and “might be the best offer the Kings can get” at this point, according to the person, although the Kings have publicly stated they are not interested in trading Cousins. The Lakers would probably also have to give up Julius Randle to complete the deal, among other salary considerations. Randle sustained a season-ending broken leg on opening night last season after being drafted seventh overall.
Cousins’ agent, Dan Fegan, would like to steer his client to the Lakers, who can offer Julius Randle and this year’s No. 2 pick — though rival teams doubt the Kings would send Cousins to a division rival. The Knicks are another team on Cousins’ list, but all the Knicks have to offer is the fourth pick (which, bear in mind, can’t officially be dealt until the Knicks use it, since their 2016 first-rounder already has been traded).
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June 26, 2022 | 8:47 am EDT Update
After six seasons in the NBA, Tomas Satoransky will return to Europe and back to FC Barcelona inking a four-year contract with the Catalonia giant, according to Eurohoops sources. Satoransky, 30, will officially become an NBA free agent at the end of the month but switching sides of the Atlantic was considered probable. He was nearing a deal with Barca, as reported by Eurohoops last week, and was previously linked to back-to-back Turkish Airlines EuroLeague champion Anadolu Efes as well.
“I avoid being carried away by money, it has always been about me being happy, about me fulfilling a dream. When I left Real Madrid and went to the USA, it was my dream but I also had to consider other factors, my family, what I was giving up,” he pointed out reminiscing the jump from European powerhouse Real Madrid to the Nuggets a couple of years ago, “The same applies about staying in the NBA.” “No, it wouldn’t be damaging, I don’t close any doors,” he replied to a question about maybe returning to Spain labeling Madrid as his second home, “Personally, it would be naive to be obsessed with staying in the NBA. Maybe I don’t get any offers. Real Madrid has always been like a second home for me, but I must wait. That is my only choice right now.”
June 26, 2022 | 6:52 am EDT Update
Not much of Murdock’s take was optimistic if you’re a Nets fan. Indeed, he referred to the franchise’s current situation as “destruction” in the podcast and suggested perhaps more firmly than other pundits that Durant could indeed leave. “The vision is on the verge of crumbling,” he wrote. “It didn’t have to be this way,” he said, summing up. “This team … and it’s ironic. Kevin came to reconcile relationships, build relationships with his BFF’s and it’s not working out. It’s doing the exact opposite. And you juxtapose that with Golden State winning…” “Now, you have reports that Kyrie is looking elsewhere. I made some calls. Kevin Durant has not talked to the team in weeks. I don’t think Kevin is confident in the front office right now. I don’t know if he’s at the stage of leaving but there’s a big uneasiness from not only from the Kyrie side, but the KD side as well.”
And Murdock reiterated reports that Durant, who had in the past recruited free agents, is not doing that now. “At least right now, he’s one of those guys who doesn’t want to recruit, isn’t in the position to recruit or doesn’t feel like he is a position to recruit whether you like that or not.
At the center of it, Murdock pointed out multiple times is the Nets relationship with Irving. “His biggest beef is that he feels that the front office didn’t grow to understand Kyrie, whatever that means. I would push back on that when a guy leaves for two weeks at a time … Kyrie earns the lion’s share of the blame. But I think KD believes that ‘hey, you guys didn’t understand this guy. You didn’t try to figure out where he was coming from.’”
Still, Durant believes the Nets didn’t support Irving particularly when they decided not to play him at all in October, after he refused to get vaccinated like all but a handful of NBA players, then brought him back in October. “That’s just how he feels. ‘Hey man, I brought this guy in, him and Kyrie, and the front office didn’t do enough to support him at a time when we needed to support him.”