Sunday, December 30, 2012

Celtics Face Kings Tonight: Cousins Chatter Bound to be Heard

DeMarcus Cousins is not officially on the trading block... yet. But the troubled young star appears to be one last outburst away from being shipped out of Sacramento. His latest antics being a profanity filled argument with the coaches during halftime of a game earning him a suspension from the team.
The Celtics will face the Kings in Sacramento Sunday night, and attempt to get back to the .500 mark. The sliding Celtics are much in need of a boost. One should be provided soon when Avery Bradley returns to the lineup, but that will not solve the rebounding and size issues that need to be addressed. Other names have been thrown around for the Celtics to go after, but none make as much sense as trying to add Cousins.
Cousins is a true center, young and loaded with talent, a scorer and a rebounder. He posses the abilities to solve at least a handful of Boston's issues that has them struggling to float around .500 this season. For his career Cousins has been around 16 points, 10 rebounds, two assists and a block per game. There are two issues that the Celtics front office must debate if they are to pounce on Cousins when/if he becomes available:

1. Is Cousins' maturity going to be an issue in Boston?
It certainly has been in Sacramento. Numerous scuffles with opponents, his teammates, and his coaches lead the list of mishaps that Cousins has been guilty of in his young careers. But he has had no mentor  that he would respect and is still 22 years old. Would playing in the paint with Kevin Garnett provide him with that mentor? Would playing under a captain like Paul Pierce motivate him? Would learning from a coach like Doc Rivers help him mature? I think all the answers are yes which is why the Celtics pull the trigger on the move.

2. What would the Celtics offer that could intrigue the Kings?
Danny Ainge is working in the wake off dumping off Kendrick Perkins for Jeff Green, a move that was not pleasing to fans, so he has to be careful to play his hand right on this one. Boston best two young pieces outside of Rondo are Bradley and Jared Sullinger... start by trying to KEEP those. An offer of Courtney Lee and Jeff Green paired with a first rounder would be the opening offer. Most likely it will be declined but the important thing is to find out why... is it the players, the contracts, or just not enough? Jeff Green's contract should be tough to move, so maybe Ainge tries swapping in Brandon Bass and Fab Melo (not as valuable anymore if Cousins is acquired to be the long term center) for Green. This gets the Kings thinking, maybe another draft pick puts the deal over the edge and the Kings accept it. The Celtics would most likely have to take on one of Sacramento's contracts they no longer want as well. Remember you can not trade your first rounder in back-to-back years so lets say the final trade looks like this:

Boston recieves John Salmons (due $8/$7.5/$7 million over the next 3 seasons/could also play a role off the bench) and DeMarcus Cousins.

Sacramento recieves Courtney Lee, Brandon Bass, Fab Melo, a 2013 1st round pick, a 2015 first round pick.

If you are the Kings, you get another big man who is a project in Fab Melo, two ready to play role players in Lee and Bass, and two future first rounders to do with as they please. The Celtics take on a bad contract but find a player to pair with Rondo for the future WHILE keeping Sullinger and Bradley to go along with them. This give Celtic fans a bright future to look forward to and ALSO gives Boston a better chance to win this year.
If it came down to it would Ainge move Bradley and Sullinger for Cousins? Probably yes. But why not try and work around that before jumping to conclusions so quickly.

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