NBA Rumors: Latest on Kyle Korver Trade Talks, DeMarcus Cousins

Maurice Bobb@@ReeseReportFeatured ColumnistNovember 28, 2018

DETROIT, MI - NOVEMBER 19: Kyle Korver #26 of the Cleveland Cavaliers reacts to a play during the game against the Detroit Pistons on November 19, 2018 at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit, Michigan. 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. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photo by Jeff Haynes/NBAE via Getty Images)
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The Markelle Fultz saga in Philadelphia is having a ripple effect around the NBA, with teams testing the waters about his availability in trade talks.

The Cleveland Cavaliers were the first organization to pick up the phone with a potential deal.

They offered veteran sharpshooter Kyle Korver and a protected draft pick in exchange for the second year point guard, reported Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders.

There's no word, however, if the Philadelphia 76ers seriously considered Cleveland's proposal.

Philadelphia may not be in a rush to make a deal, but according to Kyler's league sources, the belief is that once the December 15 trade deadline passes, Fultz won't be in a Sixers uniform.

That thinking falls in line with Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer's original report that the top pick in the 2017 draft no longer fits in Philly's long-term plans.

Fultz's future with the team has been called into question because of his uneven play through 33 games, his shooting yips and the confusion surrounding his health.

He's on voluntary absence from the team while having his shoulder and right wrist examined by specialists in New York.

The news, which caught the team by surprise, plus the recent acquisition of Jimmy Butler through trade is likely why the Sixers are willing to part with a player that was originally a vital part of "The Process."

"The belief around the 76ers is that no one currently calling the shots in Philly feels any loyalty to him," wrote Kyler. "And with Jimmy Butler in town, there is a reality to the long-term—Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons and Butler are the long-term future of the team, and Fultz is not in the picture, especially not with a big future contract."

Not surprisingly, Fultz, who is averaging 8.2 points and 3.1 assists per contest this year, is reportedly open to the idea of a fresh start.

Sources told The Athletic that Fultz preferred a trade to another team, but his agent, Raymond Brothers, denied it.

A change of scenery might do Fultz some good, though. The pressure of being the No. 1 pick might be too much to bear as he's trying to stick the landing as a player in the league.

Fultz shows flashes, especially when he puts the ball on the floor, but he's lost his shot.

He's shooting 42 percent from the field and a woeful 29 percent from three.

"I see a young player that's had extraordinarily high expectations placed upon him based on where he was drafted that's going through a lot of things that most young players will go through," Jerryd Bayless told Forbes' Shlomo Sprung. "Is it heightened because he was the number one pick? I would say so.

"Is he a perfect player right now? No. Did they think he'd be better? Yes."

While the bulk of Philly's decision will rely on Fultz's bill of health, it makes sense to consider all options, and the Korver deal does make sense.

The Sixers (14-8) needs shooters now.

Korver's numbers are down—6.8 points and 1.1 assists per game—but he's still a bonafide threat from deep, with a career average of 43.1 percent from behind the arc.

Fultz's value is down, so a package with Korver and a protected pick is quite a deal.

Philadelphia may have to return Cleveland's call before it's too late.


DeMarcus Cousins Eyes Christmas Return

OAKLAND, CA - NOVEMBER 21: DeMarcus Cousins #0 of the Golden State Warriors warms up before the game against the Oklahoma City Thunder on November 21, 2018 at ORACLE Arena in Oakland, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that,
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It's almost time for Boogie in Golden State.

DeMarcus Cousins has his sights set on making his return to the court for the Warriors "sometime after Christmas," reported Logan Murdock of the Bay Area News Group.

The report also stated that the tentative timeline was reached on Friday after the 6'11" center met with head trainer Rick Celebrini and the rest of the team's training staff.

"I don't have any update in terms of when he might play," head coach Steve Kerr told the San Francisco Chronicle's Connor Letourneau. "He's continuing to build strength in his rehab program with Rick. I talked to Rick today about him. That has to go hand in hand with the conditioning.

"Conditioning needs to come with more court time, more scrimmage time. We have so many games bunched up right now that we haven't really had a chance to get DeMarcus into a scrimmage situation. That'll be coming."

Cousins, who signed a one-year, $5.2 million deal over the summer with Golden State, has progressed nicely while rehabbing from the Achilles tear he suffered as a member of the New Orleans Pelicans last season.

Cousins' recovery has been going so well, in fact, that he's been given a six-day-a-week regimen with the team and participated in a scrimmage last week with Stephen Curry before the team's 117-116 win over the Sacramento Kings.

The four-time All-Star's desire to join teammates for Golden State's five-game road trip that starts with the Toronto Raptors on Nov. 29 is what prompted the meeting to evaluate his target return date.

While there have been no setbacks in 28-year old's recovery, the team pushed back the date to allow time for sufficient conditioning to get into game shape.

He'll be re-evaluated on Tuesday, per Letourneau.

Cousins' return adds intrigue to the team dynamic, especially considering the recent dust-up between Kevin Durant and Draymond Green.

Known for his strong personality, Cousins' effect on the team's schematics and chemistry will be must-see TV.