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#pounditSunday, October 1, 2023

Lakers reportedly pursuing trade for DeMarcus Cousins


Chamberlain. Abdul-Jabbar. O’Neal. Cousins?

The Los Angeles Lakers may have their sights set on Sacramento Kings center DeMarcus Cousins as the franchise’s next great big man.

ESPN insider Marc Stein reported on Monday afternoon that the Lakers are actively pursuing a trade for the polarizing big man.

While the details of a potential Cousins-to-LA deal are still developing, early indications are that it could be a three-team transaction involving the Lakers, Kings, and Orlando Magic.

The 24-year-old Kentucky product emerged as one of the best of a dying breed of big men last season with averages of 24.1 points per game and 12.7 rebounds per game en route to his first All-Star appearance and an All-NBA 2nd team selection. But Cousins’ unrest in Sacramento is growing, especially after a tumultuous 2014-15 season that saw head coach and Cousins favorite Mike Malone abruptly fired, as well as the hiring of current head coach George Karl without the consultation of the center. The Kings finished 29-53 on the year.

The Lakers do have the assets to pull off such a heist (Jordan Clarkson, Julius Randle, the No. 2 overall pick, etc.). But Kings Vice President Vlade Divac, who astoundingly ascended to head honcho in the Sacramento front office last April, has repeatedly refused to entertain the notion that he might trade his franchise center, telling the Sacramento Bee just last Saturday that a Cousins trade “is not happening.” It’s questionable that Divac would help a Western rival especially when he still might be bitter about the 2002 Conference Finals. Still, Divac has about as much front office experience as Neil Diamond so it makes sense that Mitch Kupchak and others are sharking in on Cousins’ availability.

The deal might not make a lot of sense for Orlando either, who would essentially be trading Nikola Vucevic, an up-and-coming young center in his own respect, for Duke’s Jahlil Okafor. Okafor is a less polished version of Vucevic with the same weaknesses on the defensive end. Getting five more cost-controlled years of Okafor might just get them to break even and arguably wouldn’t be enough to incentivize pulling the trigger on such a deal.

While it remains to be seen if anything will materialize out of this, it’s still fun to imagine Cousins in the purple and gold. If you thought Kobe and Shaq produced some fireworks, just imagine what Get-Off-My-Porch Kobe and Boogie is gonna look like. And if Rajon Rondo decides to crash the party as well? Oh boy.


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