DeMarcus Cousins has been on the wishlist of Boston Celtics fans for years, and for good reason. The Sacramento Kings big man is incredibly talented, would fill a need and is young enough at age 25 to build around. Cousins would be the star on a talented team lacking a true No. 1 guy.
It's hard not to look at the stats that Cousins puts up and wish he were doing that in green and white. For his career, Cousins averages 19 ppg, 10.6 rpg, 2.6 apg, 1.4 spg and 1.1 bpg. This season, although it's early, Cousins is averaging 24 points, nearly 11 rebounds and has somehow added three pointers to his repertoire by shooting the long ball at a clip of 42 percent.
On the court, the guy is a top talent. But the problem with Cousins is what happens off the court. During the course of his NBA career, Cousins has been labeled as immature and hot-headed. Fans of Cousins' game have hoped that he would grow up and put all of his energy into being the best big man in the league. Unfortunately, this has not been the case and there are plenty of examples of this just in the past few weeks.
Here's Cousins taking part in training camp last month.
Cousins walks off the court furious over a call IN TRAINING CAMP!
Then there are issues with his coach George Karl. For his part, Karl hasn't been great with rumors of him pushing for a Cousins trade this past summer. Even so, a report recently surfaced that raises some serious red flags about Cousins' character.
From The Big Lead:
After Sacramento was hammered at home by San Antonio Monday night, the Kings’ star, DeMarcus Cousins, stormed into the locker room and cursed out head coach George Karl with a torrent of obscenities, a person close to the situation told The Big Lead.
It doesn't matter what issue Cousins had, you don't go after your coach like that. Of course the Kings being the Kings, they made the situation even worse.
More from The Big Lead piece:
The day after the San Antonio loss, the players had a well-publicized players-only meeting. What hasn’t been reported is that after the players spoke, Sacramento general manager Vlade Divac and assistant GM Mike Bratz talked to the players and Divac asked the team, “We don’t know what to do with George [Karl], do you think we should fire him?”
It's hard to know where to start in discussing just how wrong that whole situation is. Asking the players if the coach should be fired? What? Karl reportedly wanted to suspend Cousins two games for his tirade, but the Kings front office shut him down. Giving in to Cousins' temper tantrums like this is only going to reinforce the behavior.
All of this drama and a 2-7 start to the season have got the rumor mill revving up with talk of a possible deal sending Cousins out of town. The Kings will rightly want a big package back for Cousins and a team that could offer such a package just so happens to be the Celtics.
From Tom Ziller at SB Nation:
So, who has the assets to grab Cousins, a need at center and years of reported interest in the big man? Hello, Danny Ainge!
The Celtics have their own 2016 pick (likely landing in the late teens), probably the Mavericks' pick (top-seven protected, likely to land in the late lottery) and maybe the Timberwolves' pick (top-12 protected, so don't count on it). Most importantly, Boston holds Brooklyn's unprotected first-rounder. Brooklyn has not won a game this season.
Simply trading Cousins for that pick would likely net Sacramento two top-five picks: their own after the Philly swap and that of the Nets. The Kings can try to also pry additional picks (of which Boston has plenty) or Marcus Smart. The Celtics have in David Lee a suitable dead-weight contract to include. (Ainge has another unprotected first from the Nets in 2018 and a 2017 swap option, plus a future Grizzlies pick and all of his own selections. One or two of Kelly Olynyk, Tyler Zeller, James Young and Jared Sullinger could help round out the offer.)
So let's say Ainge does somehow pry Cousins away from Sacramento. There is a school of thought that a change of scenery would be just what Cousins needs. The problem is we have no idea whether or not that is the case, it's a gamble. Cousins could absolutely continue to be the nightmare off the court that he is now.
If he does come to Boston and is still an ass, how does that impact coach Brad Stevens? Stevens is one of the team's best assets right now, if not the best. Remember those rumblings of Stevens heading back to the NCAA to coach Indiana? That idea was quickly swept aside but with a man-child like Cousins to have to deal with the NCAA might look much more appealing. Does anyone think Cousins would be able to handle the always-scrutinizing Boston media? He's never dealt with something like that before so we have no idea what that would look like.
Trades are always a gamble. You never know if a guy will fit with the roster or like his new home. But it certainly doesn't help when the guy has character issues at the jump, just ask Dallas. Boston would be much better served holding onto its assets and waiting for someone a little more stable to become available. That's not easy to say because players of Cousins' talent don't come on the trading block often and Boston at this point has more future picks than it knows what to do with. Even still, trading for Cousins would be trading for a ticking time bomb just waiting to blow up everything Ainge has been building since the departure of the Big Three.
While this isn't the most popular opinion, there are others who share it.
From Celtics great Cedric Maxwell on CSNNE:
“I wouldn’t give you a bag of donuts for him,” said Maxwell. “I think that sometimes what you have are guys who are cancerous. I think he is a player who has tremendous skill set, but if you don’t have a lead dog in front of him and he’s your best player, I think it’s only going to be cancerous for your team.
“I really am not a big fan because of the way he’s acted on and off the court.”
And Ainge is at least hinting that he's aware of the issues Cousins brings to the table.
From ESPN's Chris Forsberg:
During his weekly call to Boston sports radio 98.5 The Sports Hub on Thursday, Ainge was presented a thinly veiled hypothetical about the scenario on the "Toucher and Rich" program.
"Listen, we consider all talented players, but what is the price?" Ainge said. "Who are the players that we have around to support? All of that is [discussed] when we have trade talks. I think everybody knows who you are talking about. The bottom line is I can't talk about any players, but I can assure you that we're familiar with every player in the league and every player's background and their character. We consider it all."
The conversation surrounding Cousins in Boston has focused on if he could be acquired and what a package for him would look like. To paraphrase Ian Malcolm in "Jurassic Park," we've spent so much time asking ourselves if we could we never stopped to ask ourselves if we should.
stats via Basketball-Reference Eric Blaisdell 11/12/2015 04:31:00 PM Tweet Edit