Sacramento head coach George Karl is reportedly interested in trading DeMarcus Cousins, and the Los Angeles Lakers are reportedly interested in trading for him. Kings owner Vivek Ranadive, however, reportedly does not want to part with his star forward.
Whether all this smoke actually leads to fire, it’s clear that Karl and Cousins are no longer on the same page, if they ever were to begin with. When and how did this fracture begin?
“Well, it began with the firing of Mike Malone back in December,” Yahoo! Sports NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski said on CBS Sports Radio’s The Doug Gottlieb Show. “As you remember, Cousins had been out with an illness. They had gotten off to a really good start with Cousins in the lineup, he was sick, he was on his way back and the owner decided to fire Mike Malone in the interim. He brought in Ty Corbin as an interim coach. That didn’t go well, which was what everyone in the organization suspected would happen, and then they brought in George Karl around the All-Star break. And that connection, that bond, that trust really never developed with Cousins and George Karl. It started them down this road where George Karl has been vocal within the organization and he’s been vocal to people outside the organization – other officials with other teams – that he wants to trade DeMarcus Cousins, that he wants to sell management and ownership on it.
“Ranadive, as he said, he’s very reluctant to do it,” Wojnarowski continued, “but it’s going to be really hard for Karl and Cousins to have a partnership going into training camp. We know if DeMarcus wants to be difficult, he can be as difficult as anybody – and that’s the risk they’re taking as an organization if that thinking just can’t work. And right now, it’s a broken relationship.”
The Kings have been awful for the last decade. After eight straight playoff appearances from 1999 to 2006 – including a trip to the Western Conference Finals in 2002 – the Kings haven’t made the playoffs nine years and counting.
Playoffs? Shoot, the Kings won 29 games last year. That’s the most they’ve won in a single season since 2007-08, when they won 38.
Yes, it’s been that bad.
Wojnarowski, however, doesn’t know if Cousins will actually be on the move.
“Obviously the Lakers would love to have him,” he said. “Listen, everybody in the league is lining up to try to get DeMarcus Cousins. He’s a supreme talent. The Lakers obviously have the No. 2 pick, and they have the cap space to absorb him in. But . . . if Sacramento is going to do a deal for Cousins or anybody, they don’t want draft picks. They want proven, veteran players or really talented young guys who are making an impact. They’re not trying to rebuild. George Karl is 64 years old. He’s trying to break Don Nelson’s career wins record. He wants veterans to win now. And so, for a lot of teams, the No. 2 overall pick would have a whole lot of value. I don’t think it holds as much value for the Kings.”