Sacramento Kings: 3 Potential Trade Returns for DeMarcus Cousins

Peter WardellCorrespondent IJanuary 2, 2012

Sacramento Kings: 3 Potential Trade Returns for DeMarcus Cousins

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    Early yesterday, Sacramento Kings fans greeted the new year with a shocking statement from head coach Paul Westphal announcing second-year big man DeMarcus Cousins’ desires to be traded.

    Cousins, 21, has one of the highest ceilings of any big man in the NBA, but his attitude problems and immaturity have certainly proven to be substantial roadblocks standing in the way of reaching it. 

    While it's unclear whether it will be Cousins that is moved or Westphal let go, it's clear that something needs to change for Sacramento to compete.

    Here are a couple trade packages the Kings may be able to put together for the 2010 fifth overall selection:

Scouting Report: DeMarcus Cousins

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    At 6-11, 270 pounds, Cousins is a giant, capable of overpowering opponents in the paint with his sheer size and athleticism.

    A dominant rebounder, grabbing at least 11 boards in each of his four contests this season and proficient scorer, averaging 14 points per game in 2010-11, Cousins has the makings of a dominant power forward/center for years to come.

    He's also shown the vast inexperience of a 21 year old however. 

    Despite leading the Kings in scoring last season, he was extremely inefficient offensively, posting an alarming 43% on field goals including 30.4% from 3-9 feet. For some reason, he loves the fadeaway and takes a high number of poor finesse shots.

    In addition, despite tremendous court vision, Cousins looked highly uncomfortable with the ball in his hands last season, posting the second highest turnover rate among non-guards (3.3) and the lowest assist-to-turnover ration in the entire league (0.76).

    Regardless of his current shortcomings, his ceiling makes him worth the gamble. With a couple years under a quality coach, Cousins could be a superstar.

Detroit: Austin Daye + Protected 2012 1st Round Draft Pick

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    Austin Daye is a 23-year-old, quality rotation player than could contribute immediately in Sacramento. While the Pistons have primarily used him as a 4, Daye would make for a solid backup behind small forward John Salmons, with the potential to overtake him this season.

    Daye is a tall, thin pick-and-pop forward with good range, shooting over 40% on 3-pointers in 2010-11. At 6-11, he gets his shot off with ease and could pour in double-digits nightly with an increase in playing time.

    Defensively, Daye contributes in rebounds and blocks simply due to his length but needs to be used as a wing because he can’t body up against bigger forwards.

    While Daye alone would be unlikely to get a deal done, the Pistons could offer up a top-5 protected 2012 first round draft pick in addition. No team in their right mind wants to give up a selection in next year’s draft, but protecting the pick might be enough as I doubt they escape the NBA’s cellar this season.

    In return, the Pistons would get a formidable big man to pair with second-year Greg Monroe, giving the team their best frontcourt duo since 2005. Back then, Rasheed and Ben Wallace changed the identity of the team and led Detroit to the NBA’s best overall record.

    Would you want DeMarcus Cousins on your team? Michigan answered 47% Yes.

Atlanta: Josh Smith

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    While it would be a slight overpay by the Atlanta Hawks, a Josh Smith-for-Cousins trade would be a great deal for both teams.

    From the Kings perspective, Josh Smith is almost certainly the best player that they will be able to get for Cousins right now. By announcing his trade demands and admitting his immaturity issues publicly, the Kings have set themselves up to receive pennies on the dollar. With Smith set to make $12.4 million this season, Sacramento would have to take on substantial money, but they’d also be getting an All-Star caliber talent.

    Like Cousins, Smith is a mediocre shooter, and takes far too many bad shots. Defensively however, Smith is a force. Unlike Cousins, he maintains a low foul rate and battles hard in the paint, posting solid block, rebound and steal numbers consistently. Despite both being undersized for their positions, Smith would pair up nicely with center Chuck Hayes (Smith is 6-9 and Hayes 6-6), making the Kings solid defensively in the paint.

    From the Hawks perspective, getting a dominant post player like Cousins would finally allow them to move Al Horford to power forward where I believe he would really excel. Horford has a terrific midrange game, leading the league in shooting percentage from 16-23 feet and could almost fill a Nowitzki-like role with Cousins playing center.

    Defensively, Cousins would really benefit from playing with a stopper like Horford. The two could split post assignments with Cousins taking the longer, more athletic centers and Horford taking the others.

    Would you want DeMarcus Cousins on your team? Georgia answered 45% Yes.

Washington: Jordan Crawford & Chris Singleton

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    If anyone could calm down the volatile Cousins, it might be former Kentucky teammate and close buddy John Wall.

    While in most situations Cousins will be expected to come in and play center, Washington would be a different story. With 23-year-old JaVale McGee holding down the paint, a move to Washington would either spell the end of troubled forward Andray Blatche’s tenure with the franchise or simply create a talented, athletic three-man rotation at power forward and center.

    Assuming the Kings would turn down a deal for Blatche, Sacramento could probably pull free second-year guard Jordan Crawford and either rookie Chris Singleton or a future first round draft pick.

    Crawford is not only locked up to a cheap, rookie contract but also would make for a decent rotation player backing up guards Marcus Thornton and Tyreke Evans. Like many Kings, Crawford has a shoot-first mentality but scores in abundances when he gets hot.

    Singleton, a touted defensive stopper, has looked great in limited play so far this season. While his offensive ability is still quite raw, Singleton would challenge John Salmons for playing time at small forward and could be a decent starter for years.

    Of the two, Singleton will be tougher to pry away and the Wizards may actually be more willing to give up an unprotected future first round pick to keep him around.

    Would you want DeMarcus Cousins on your team? D.C. answered 53% Yes.