Grant Hughes of Bleacher Report proposes three scenarios which could land Cousins in green and white:
1) Boston trades: Avery Bradley, Jason Terry and Jared Sullinger
Boston receives: DeMarcus Cousins and Chuck Hayes
This package is obviously the least favorite of Danny Ainge’s. Yet it might be the one he is forced into doing. It requires giving up on Bradley.
Parting ways with Jason Terry is easier to do, because his career is on the tail end, and his best days are behind him. Jared Sullinger is a promising forward, but included in all three packages (as you’ll see below).
The Kings obviously feel that Sullinger’s potential can in the long-term fill the hole left by Cousins. But that is a bit of a pipe dream.
Sullinger is undersized as an NBA big man, and Cousins is a legit force in the post. This isn’t to suggest that Sully won’t go on to have a great NBA career; he very well may; but to part ways with the No. 21 overall pick from the 2012 NBA Draft is a small loss to acquire a game changing offensive talent like Cousins.
Chuck Hayes would help on the interior, for though he is one of the NBA’s smallest power forwards, the 6’6″ Kentucky product did average over eight rebounds per game in 2010-11. Hayes has played sparingly this season for the Kings (18 minutes per game), but having another “big” (again, the undersized factor) off the bench would still prove useful for Doc Rivers, and Hayes could be a rebounding presence for the C’s.
This first package is obviously the best for the Kings, but Danny Ainge does hold some cards in this deal: Cousins has been a problem for the Kings, and while they insisted he didn’t have to be dealt, Ainge is obviously calling their bluff.
Kings GM Geoff Petrie told NBA.com the following:
You can put that one to rest…He’s not going anywhere. You can lay that to rest. Some of that stuff lives in its own reality. Everybody’s moving forward. He’s still a young, developing player that’s yet to reach his potential and is still a major piece of the future planning here. Everyone’s committed to working with his development as a player and his overall growth…he’s still an important part of the future. He’s like a lot of people. Some have good days, and some days are better than others. We’re going to continue to work with him to help him reach his potential, which is still very high.
Petrie wanted teams around the league to believe the Kings were sold on keeping Cousins in Sactown, but this move has been played by countless GMs in the past, always in an attempt to keep the value high of a player that they have no intention of keeping.
2) Boston trades: Courtney Lee, Jason Terry and Jared Sullinger
Boston Receives: DeMarcus Cousins and John Salmons
This package is far more favorable for the Celtics. It doesn’t require giving up on Avery Bradley, and Courtney Lee has been a huge disappointment this year for Doc Rivers and the Celtics. Lee is shooting the highest field goal percentage of his career this year (47.9 percent), but his three-point shooting is at a career low (32 percent), and given his role in the Celtics offense that makes him pretty expendable; certainly, anyway, more expendable than Bradley.
John Salmons is an oh-by-the-way throw in, but for salary purposes the C’s must take on the washed up swingman. Besides that, Salmons could still serve some purpose off the bench for the C’s, as he still does have some play making abilities that could help the team.
Salmons still averages 4.1 assists per game in addition to his respectable 11.9 point per game scoring average, so the 33-year-old guard/forward could be useful off the bench.
3) Boston trades: Courtney Lee, Fab Melo and Jared Sullinger
Boston receives: DeMarcus Cousins and Travis Outlaw
This package is likely the least favorable for the Celtics. Though Lee is the mainstay from package two, it requires giving up both of their first round selections from the 2012 NBA Draft, and the player that accompanies Cousins in this deal is the least useful of all their inclusions.
Fab Melo hasn’t done anything at the NBA level yet, but he had a triple-double with 14 blocks in the D-League playing for the Maine Red Claws. His potential still remains high, even if the Syracuse product is as raw as an oyster just pulled onto the boat.
Travis Outlaw is little more than a chucker with a poor outside shot, and he’s bounced around in his NBA career without anchoring on any of the four NBA cities he’s played in (Portland, L.A. Clippers, New Jersey and Sacramento). The Celtics would have little use for Outlaw on a team with far better shooters, but his inclusion again is made for the purposes of balancing the salaries in the trade.
The values of Lee and Sullinger have already been discussed.
Danny Ainge is likely working the phone throughout the night as these words are being typed, and it’s quite possible that by the time the sun rises in Boston this morning (Jan. 7) a deal could be consummated.
The Celtics have pushed all-in for Cousins, and given the team’s struggles this year, acquiring a 22-year-old center who averages 17-plus points per game and over 10 rebounds a night could revitalize the franchise and help them make a successful push in the Eastern Conference.
Whether or not Bradley has to be traded to do this is obviously the lynch pin in this trade. Petrie is wise to push for his inclusion, but Danny Ainge is equally hesitant to give up on a guy who can change the game from a defensive standpoint, and having a lock-down wing defender is vital when facing the Miami Heat, as Dwyane Wade can potentially go crazy on any night.
Still, the C’s would still have the services of Courtney Lee if Bradley were dealt, and Lee has been an above average defender throughout his NBA career as well.
If they must deal Bradley to acquire Cousins, the trigger must be pulled, no matter how much it will hurt to see him go on to possibly become an All-NBA defensive player down the road for another team.
After all, it is Cousins who could be the perennial All-Star, and to acquire talent, talent must be surrendered.