The Sacramento Kings are likely moving to Seattle next season, but whether or not young center DeMarcus Cousins joins them remains to be seen. Even in the midst of another solid season, in which he has averaged 17.3 points and 10 rebounds per game thus far, the former Kentucky Wildcat's future with his current team remains cloudy.
According to Tim McMahon of ESPN Dallas, the Dallas Mavericks' front office has entertained the idea of putting together a trade package for the volatile center, whose attitude issues in Sacramento have been well-documented.
Earlier this season, he was suspended indefinitely for "unprofessional behavior and conduct detrimental to the team," and he also drew a separate suspension for a flagrant foul in January. These are just two separate incidents in a number of clashes Cousins has had with team management, but they have become regular enough that a trade may start being considered.
The 22-year-old would indeed be a great fit in Dallas' frontcourt, but the sad truth is that Cousins being traded to the Mavericks is highly unlikely to happen. The Kings hold a $4.9 million option on his contract for next season, and the fact of the matter is that he is still a great presence at center in spite of his attitude issues.
Just the same, every front office has its limit. Cousins' attitude has been a problem ever since he debuted in 2010, and there has been no evidence to suggest that it will ever go away completely. Thus, with new ownership about to step in, it's reasonable to believe that management could choose to deal Cousins and rid itself of the headache.
Some fans may be ready to take arms if that does happen, but it's actually not a bad idea. Sacramento has a solid option in Jason Thompson, who, at 6'11", 250 pounds, could easily shift from power forward to center. This would also give recent first-round pick Thomas Robinson more minutes and more opportunities to develop his game, and he has the size at 6'10", 237 pounds to be a force at the 4.
What should the Kings do with DeMarcus Cousins?
Needless to say, potential new owner Chris Hansen and GM Geoff Petrie, assuming he is retained, need to have a conversation about Cousins before the team moves to Seattle. They can either decide to take the good with the bad and let the young center finish out his contract, not to mention have a conversation with him about what is expected of him, or the Maloofs can start shopping him now and see what can be gotten in return.
Either way, the Kings need to ensure that a plan is set in place with or without Cousins. If not, team management risks carrying the headache with it to Seattle and preventing a complete fresh start.
If Cousins is at the root of that, finding a buyer for him could become even harder, and losing his skills for nothing in free agency could prove devastating.