Celtics Rumors: Boston's Best Trade Chips Make Impact Deal Wishful Thinking

Dan Favale@@danfavaleFeatured ColumnistJanuary 7, 2013

SACRAMENTO, CA - DECEMBER 19: DeMarcus Cousins #15 of the Sacramento Kings stands on the court during their game against the Golden State Warriors at Sleep Train Arena on December 19, 2012 in Sacramento, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Sorry, Tom Brady, but you're going to want to return that Pandora bracelet you've undoubtedly purchased for DeMarcus Cousins.


Because the Sacramento Kings aren't going to deal him to the Boston Celtics. Not even the Kings are that naive.

Which is why I'm surprised the rumor mill has carried us this far.

Sure, when A. Sherrod Blakely of CSNNE.com reported that the Celtics had waived rookies Jarvis Varnado and Kris Joseph, we were intrigued. We could see Varnado's departure coming, but Joseph's? That was a surprise.

Per Blakely, though, it was a shock laced with an explanation. Boston had parted ways with the two in an attempt to create the roster flexibility needed to pull the trigger on a blockbuster trade.

#Celticstalk: The #Celtics decision to waive Vernado AND Joseph, opens the door for what one league source says may be a "blockbuster" deal.

— A. Sherrod Blakely (@SherrodbCSN) January 7, 2013

It is here that consternation turns into acceptance.

At one game under .500, the Celtics are clinging to the Eastern Conference's final playoff spot. Considering this team was supposed to contend for a title and not hold on for dear life, hoping they have enough gas to make the postseason, that's a problem.

Given this, why wouldn't Boston pursue a trade to shake things up? Why wouldn't it search league-wide for an obtainable player to help its cause?

Somewhat obviously, the Celtics should explore all feasible trade avenues, hence the "eureka" moment we all undoubtedly had when Cousins' name was the one thrown into the conversation

#Celticstalk: The name that keeps coming up with everyone I speak with about the #Celtics and trades, is #Kings stud DeMarcus Cousins.

— A. Sherrod Blakely (@SherrodbCSN) January 7, 2013

Of course Boston wants Cousins. What team that was ranked last in rebounding and 25th in offensive efficiency wouldn't?

But there's a difference between "lust" and actuality. You can't always get what you want—the Celtics can't have Cousins.

Or so we thought.

According to the NBA on NBC, Boston's general manager, Danny Ainge, was "working hard" on a deal that would land Cousins in Celtics green.

Sources close to nbaonnbc.com confirm that Danny Ainge is working to complete a deal to bring Cousins to Boston, tonight.

— NBA on NBC Boston (@NBAonNBCBoston) January 7, 2013

I know what you're thinking at this point: Is this some sort of a joke?

If we are to believe Gethin Coolbaugh of NBAonNBC.com, it wasn't:

The Boston Celtics may be nearing a deal to acquire Sacramento Kings star center DeMarcus Cousins, according to a source of NBAonNBC.com's Patrick Gilroy.

Boston became more aggressive on Sunday in its pursuit of Cousins -- who has been rumored to be on the trading block despite public denial by the Kings' organization -- and while Celtics general manager Danny Ainge would like to make a move sooner rather than later, he is hesitant about trading heralded third-year guard Avery Bradley. According to the source, Ainge would rather move Courtney Lee -- who was acquired by the Celtics in a sign-and-trade deal with the Houston Rockets -- than Bradley. Ainge's desire is to "win now," said the source, and that would certainly limit which players are involved in the deal on Boston's end.

To answer your question, yes, it's official—we've reached a state of senseless existence.

How in the world could the Kings be considering an offer from the Celtics, a team that wasn't willing to give up their fourth-best trade chip in Avery Bradley? How is that possible?

It's not. The Kings are, in fact, not that self-destructive.

Just when you thought human evolution had suffered a fatal blow, Sam Amick of USA Today came to the rescue, reiterating that not only was Cousins not going to Boston, but he wasn't going anywhere.

DeMarcus Cousins is not going to the Celtics. Teams continue to be told that he's not available. That is all.

— Sam Amick (@sam_amick) January 7, 2013

Breathing easier?

Yeah, me too.

Hyperventilating was no longer a risk either, once the NBAonNBC.com all but retracted its own report:

A note from Gilroy, the owner of NBAonNBC.com...

"We as a website are not predicting or promising a trade. We are confirming previous speculation from well-known sources (A. Sherrod Blakely of CSNNE) that the Celtics are very busy targeting Cousins. Our only new news is that the potential holdup in the deal is the inclusion of Bradley or Lee."

Talk about throwing Blakely under the bus, eh? It wasn't him that used the words "nearing a deal," was it? He merely confirmed Boston's already known interest.

If anything, this "report" reeks of speculation, diligent deception and, well, an absence of truth.

Just because Patrick Gilroy has the ability to go into a video game and see that a trade is financially possible, doesn't mean it's going to happen.

Do I know that's what he did? 

Absolutely not. It's pure conjecture, like the one he subjected us to.

See what I did there?

Good. But what you shouldn't see is any validity to this report. It simply makes no sense if you're the Kings.

As Alex Kennedy of HOOPSWORLD echoes, Cousins is not only  unavailable, but Boston isn't willing to move anything of actual value in return for his services:

One team that the Celtics have been in contact with is the Sacramento Kings. Boston has expressed significant interest in DeMarcus Cousins and would like to put together a package for him. Ainge seems willing to part with some combination of his recent acquisitions and draft picks. He doesn’t want to move Rondo, Pierce, Garnett or Avery Bradley, according to sources close to the situation.

However, the Kings continue to insist that they’re not interested in moving Cousins.

Take what you want from Kennedy and Amick's findings, but understand this: The Celtics have removed their four best trade chips from negotiations.


This isn't going to happen.

Should the Celtics be open to moving Rondo in favor of Cousins and a bloated contract or two, maybe this becomes possible. But for what they're offering? Most definitely not.

What does Boston have to offer outside of those four anyway? Courtney Lee?

Yeah, that's a great idea for a Kings team with an abundance of wings. Marcus Thornton and Tyreke Evans are two of the few bright spots for a Sacramento team with seemingly no direction. The Kings aren't about to sell another ticket to an already overcrowded venue.

Which means we shouldn't urge the Celtics to loosen their stance on Bradley, either. It wouldn't do any good. Not when Isaiah Thomas, Aaron Brooks and Jimmer Fredette already play alongside Thornton and Evans.

Don't even get me started on Fab Melo, either. He's a bigger on-court project than Cousins' attitude deficiencies. And let's face it, the Kings aren't exactly known for grooming young talent.

But Brandon Bass, right? He's pretty good, isn't he?

Sure he is, but how do the Celtics sell an 8.1-points and 5.3-rebounds-per-game contributor as the centerpiece to a deal for a 17.4-points and 10.3-rebounds-a-night star?

They can't.

And as Kurt Heilin of NBC Sports' ProBasketballTalk writes, they won't:

This echoes what we have reported before — when Cousins was suspended by the team for a fight with coach Keith Smart a lot of other teams called up and asked the Kings about a deal. Teams were and are sniffing around hoping to steal a player of immense talent, albeit an immature personality.

There was no interest from the Kings. Not then, not now.

So let's not get caught up in what is clearly a bad case of whimsical thinking.

The Kings aren't interested in trading Cousins anywhere, because it's nearly impossible to receive an adequate return.

Remember, Cousins is 22 years old, still on his rookie deal and thus earning an overly reasonable $3.9 million this season.

Sacramento isn't going to find another available player with his ceiling or current production for that price.

Not "then," and most certainly not now.

And when dealing with the Celtics, not ever.

*All stats in this article are accurate as of January 6, 2013.


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