DeMarcus Cousins is far too valuable to get rid of by any means necessary.
Will Sacramento keep Cousins for now?
The latest NBA news out of the Sacramento Kings’ locker room is that Cousins has been suspended indefinitely by the franchise for “unprofessional behavior and conduct detrimental to the team," (per GM Geoff Petrie) according to Sam Amick and Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today. A source also told Amick and Zillgitt that, despite the second-year big being the center of the Kings’ current rebuilding project, “he’s not untouchable” after getting into a heated argument with head coach Keith Smart at halftime against the Los Angeles Clippers on Friday.
Sacramento must step back for a second, though, and look at the big picture. Cousins’ trade value has never been lower. The Kings must wait until it rises once again before they even think about dealing him.
At 6’11”, 270 pounds, Cousins boasts the potential to be the best center in the NBA. Last season, when he was averaging 18.1 points and 11.0 rebounds a night, he was arguably top three already behind only Dwight Howard and Andrew Bynum.
If Sac-Town finds its breakup with Cousins inevitable, it must rescind his suspension when the time is right, insert him back into his usual role and pull the trigger on a trade as soon as he begins to dominate once again.
And he shows some maturity, of course.
The King may just be able to complete that checklist by the February 21 trade deadline.
A 22-year-old center with an unlimited ceiling will net the Kings a gold mine on the open market. But before they make bank, they must first make teams forget about the massive question marks surrounding Cousins’ character.
The difference between Sacramento getting hustled and it netting a package that it can build its future around is timing. If the Kings trade Cousins now, they’d be trading a locker room cancer with no leverage and would receive minimal value in return.
If Sacramento waits to trade a top-three center perceived as the missing piece in a playoff contender’s championship puzzle, the franchise could actually improve after all this drama.
David Daniels is a featured columnist at Bleacher Report and a syndicated writer.