ESPN's Marc Stein reported on June 22 the Los Angeles Lakers are interested in trading for Sacramento Kings center DeMarcus Cousins.
The Los Angeles Lakers are interested in acquiring Sacramento Kings center DeMarcus Cousins.
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According to a June 22 report from ESPN's Marc Stein, the Lakers are exploring several trade scenarios that will bring the prized center to Los Angeles.
However, Stein says the Kings are very reluctant to part ways with Cousins. He cites new Kings general manager Vlade Divac's June 20 interview with The Sacramento Bee's Ailene Voisin regarding the team's stance:
"This is not happening; but I would love to do something, a smaller move, before the draft. We have a lot of changes to make. The league is much more up-tempo now, and we need more three-point shooting.
"If we don't get that in the draft, we'll be active in free agency and see about making trades later in the offseason.
"We know our coach and the pieces that he needs. And I really believe we are going to be a totally different team next season, with different energy. Our goal next year is not only to have a winning season, but a playoff season. This draft is important, but it's only the beginning."
In addition, the Lakers don't have too many players which would make a trade for Cousins fair for both sides, per ESPN. The most Los Angeles can offer at this point would be forward Julius Randle, guard Jordan Clarkson and the No. 2 overall pick in this year's draft.
Stein notes the Lakers can only deal the second overall pick after the team makes the selection and introduces that particular player as a member of the team because teams are barred from trading first-round draft picks for two consecutive years.
The Philadelphia 76ers hold the Lakers' 2016 first-round draft choice, per ESPN.
Nonetheless, Stein says the Lakers, Kings and Orlando Magic have had initial talks regarding a potential three-way trade involving Cousins. He stresses all three teams will be picking sixth or higher in the upcoming 2015 NBA draft on Thursday.
Stein also mentions Magic center Nikola Vucevic, who could be a part of a deal which would send Cousins to Los Angeles.
Aside from the Lakers, the Boston Celtics and Denver Nuggets are also said to be interested in prying Cousins away from Sacramento. The Nuggets' new head coach, Mike Malone, was Cousins' coach with the Kings, per ESPN.
For his part, Cousins told The Sacramento Bee's Jason Jones during his third annual DeMarcus Cousins Elite Skills Basketball Camp at Sacramento High School he's very happy for Malone when the Nuggets named him their head coach:
"I was very happy. I think he's one of the better coaches in the league. He's a great man, I learned a lot from him, and I'm just happy he's getting an opportunity to do what he loves. Like I said, you can't keep a good man down."
Cousins also revealed to Jones he's feeling great mentally and physically. He also says his next goal is to make the U.S. men's basketball team for the 2016 Summer Olympics in Brazil:
"I'm feeling pretty good. My mind is in a good place. I'm just staying away, laying low, resting my mind and body.
"I feel I've still got a long way to go. I'm still not satisfied, not even close.
"Every year, it's basically new tryouts. My next goal is to make the 2016 Olympic team. I've got that on my radar as well."
As for today's NBA game, Cousins told The Sacramento Bee it's more a small-ball type of game than it was when he started playing basketball:
"It's changing a lot. When I was coming up, It was almost regular. You still played through the big man, and now the game is kind of changing, and small ball is taking over. Us bigs need to step up a little bit and change things around.
"Everybody wants a championship. It's hard to be sitting at home watching."
The 24-year-old Cousins has averaged 18.9 points, 10.6 rebounds and 2.6 assists in 350 career regular-season games for the Sacramento Kings, per ESPN stats.
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