Per numerous NBA sources, Sacramento Kings Coach George Karl is trying to get Demarcus Cousins traded from the Kings, most likely in a deal that involves the Lakers and the Magic. This is yet another example of Karl clashing with a star player. First it was Shawn Kemp, then it was Carmelo Anthony, and now it's Boogie.
The proposed deal was a three-team trade that involved the Kings, Lakers, and Magic. While nothing was official, the proposed deal was rumored to involve Cousins, Julius Randle, Jordan Clarkson, Nikola Vucevic, and the no. 2, 5, and 6 picks. The Lakers would receive Cousins and the no. 6 pick, the Kings would receive Vucevic, Julius Randle/Jordan Clarkson, and the no. 5 pick, and the Magic would receive Randle/Clarkson and the no. 2 pick. Other players rumored to be invovled included Jordan Hill and Nick Young.
If this deal had been made, it would've allowed the Lakers to jump several steps on their rebuilding path. The trade is a flat out steal for the Lakers, who would give up Randle, several role players, and draft positioning in order to garner a top-4 center in the league. Boogie averaged 24.1-12.7 on 50% shooting last season, finishing first amongst all centers in points and PER (25.27). In addition, Cousins is on a team-friendly contract, and is due to earn $51 million over the next 3 seasons, which is a bargain as the NBA's cap increases. The Lakers would be able to secure their center of the future, grab a high level prospect at no. 6 (most likely Justise Winslow, Mario Hezonja, or Emmanuel Mudiay), and still have cap space to chase max-level free agents.
The Magic are the third team in this trade, and might be getting the best value. While they give up a young, newly paid center, they also get the no. 2 pick, and either Julius Randle or Jordan Clarkson. They'd be able to snag a top-flight player in the draft (Okafor, Porzingis, and Russell all come to mind), and also free up even more cap space to chase free agents. The third team in these kinds of deals can occasionally get great return for little loss, and the Magic would do that in this trade.
For the Kings, this deal would be all about the reign of Karl. It would be another data point in a long career of Karl not being able to work with a star player. His abrasive and controlling personality clash with superstars, who rightfully demand some autonomy both in practice and on the court. And it's not even like Karl's method is tough, but works. In his 31 year tenure as a head coach, he has made just one Finals, in 1996 (losing to the 72-10 Bulls). At a certain point, Karl needs to start working with mercurial superstars, and learn how to extract their best talent. From a players standpoint, this would destroy Sacramento. They would get back Vucevic, Randle/Clarkson, the no. 5 pick, and some role players–certainly getting some value in return. But in losing Boogie, they would lose the only player to put up 24-12.5 since Kevin Love in 2012. Say what you want about his attitude, but Boogie is a star, and the Kings cannot accept the trade in its current form. Either Karl needs to adjust to Boogie, or they need to get more back.
However, the most surprising of white knights has emerged in Sacramento to save the Kings from themselves–Vivek Ranadive. That's right, the man who wants to play 4-on-5, fires coaches left and right, and makes illogical trades is now the savior of the Kings. He is reportedly blocking the trade of Boogie, and trying to lessen Karl's power. While it makes sense for the Kings to retain Cousins, they run the risk of creating a rift between Karl and the rest of the team. If there's one thing the Kings don't need, it's more drama.
What could the fallout be of these trade rumors? If no trade materializes, serious drama could arise (once again) in Sacramento. Cousins is notoriously mercurial, and his play could falter under the weight of tensions between him and Karl. The Kings may be best suited to part ways with Karl after these rumors, rather than Cousins. Regardless of what they decide to do, the Kings organization cannot stay idle––something's gotta give between Cousins, Karl, and Vivek.