In the immediate aftermath of multiple reports that have the Kings wishing to trade away DeMarcus Cousins, DB.com got word from an NBA source that, headline porn be damned, there is no match there for the Dallas Mavericks.
And in the context of what Sacramento might be wanting in return, yes, the Mavs have nothing. Our notes on the situation ... and lots of other situations, starting with a state-of-the-state note:
Where are the Mavs at this point? Exactly where we expected them to be, when we wrote the first post-season articles about free agency and the Mavs' upcoming summer all the way back on May 7.
That's not an "I told you so.'' It's just a way to avoid panic as rumors begin to fly ... and you hope Dallas has wings.
It's fodder for the doom-and-gloomers ... but mostly it's just normal basketball life playing out. Consider:
*Ellis has declined his option for another year. Obvious choice. Virtually 100 percent what everyone expected all along.
*Felton has exercised his option for another year. Obvious choice. 100 percent what everyone expected all along.
*Aminu has been indicating he will decline his option for another year. Obvious choice. 100 percent what everyone expected all along.
*LaMarcus Aldridge is a "One-Percent Chance'' to be a Mav ... 100 percent of the time our rule on these matters (though if he lands with the Lakers leading Dallas as a bridesmaid again, we will share your frustration.)
The cap room ahead, the choices on how to operate, nothing has changed one iota. ... despite all of this "happening'' on the eve of July 1. Plenty of question marks, lots of uncertainty, and lots of work for the Mavs. And, as we've said all along, the most advantageous outcome, if they can make it happen, will be to find a way to operate over the cap which opens up more room to spend, thus adding more talent.
Now let's unravel some of this ...
*The Kings leaked this Cousins availability idea while presumably looking for a high draft pick (or two) and a talented young player (or two), preferably a young center who can somewhat replace Cousins while they use the pick(s) to build other areas.
*The Mavs have no high pick, and no young player, and no center to trade (they can only offer TY if TY wants to go there, and he's certainly nearer the end of his career than the beginning and thus not likely a Kings target).
*This would signal a tear-down-and-rebuild concept in Sacto -- not that they have built very far to this point -- which means they are playing for somewhere out in the future, not for anytime soon.
*However, Sacto already has a young center who is very talented (Cousins) and the replacement won't be nearly as good ... and they already have a high draft pick in Thursday's draft (6th), which they supposedly will (according to rumor) inexplicably have to include also as they will only move up as opposed to actually adding that high pick onto the picks they already have. So ...
We think this is the new kid on the block (Divac) preparing to get his carcass plucked clean by the vultures looking to take advantage of him and steal what he has of value, before he figures it out.
*Meanwhile, are we seeing another tear down, this one in Portland? Batum being traded for a PF and SG ... now the "positional need" door is open for the Blazers to net something in return for Aldridge leaving. Sweet.
Consider: Gay to Portland and Rondo to Sacto as the core of a S&T of Aldridge to Dallas. It's not an exact trade match in terms of salary or talent, but it's a workable foundation with possibilities galore.
Of course, we're just spitballing. But it's interesting how the landscape has just shifted in an intriguing way. ... and the spitball goes straight into the toilet if it's the Lakers instead of the Mavs who find a way to run the LMA pursuit in this or any other manner.
*Can the Lakers really afford two stars? Of course. Just like the Mavs can afford two stars. Those aforementioned naysayers hate when we do this ... but as we've pointed out, there are a handful of ways for Dallas to let LaMarcus AND DeAndre BOTH say "yes.''
* DeAndre Jordan, by the way, will not be a Dallas "consolation prize'' if LAM goes to LA. That's not at all how the Mavs are looking at him. The Tyson-for-Jordan sign-and-trade swap is so sensible ... Meanwhile: "It's not who Dallas prioritizes; it's who prioritizes Dallas.'' That exclusive from inside the Mavs front office is here.
*Why is Rondo's name in this Kings pile? His people want his name mentioned everywhere ... And he wants what he wants. So Woj writes that Rondo insists on a one-year from someone (a re-ignition of his flamed-out rep), making a Dallas S&T a non-starter.
But we would add that he presumably also wants a healthy paycheck THIS season, and sometimes you don't always get everything you want after the negotiating starts, so there's that. ... And the continued hope that Dallas can help him S&T somewhere.
*Speaking of outgoing Mavs guards: Monta is somebody you still root for, in this sense: Ellis' prior salary was $8.36 mil, and he declined an option for $8.72 mil. If he is signed for less than $10.032 mil in an over-cap S&T (using his Early Bird rights), he counts as outgoing value for that amount. If the number is higher than that, its value is only $8.36 mil. So the ideal for the Mavs, for S&T or TE purposes, is a deal for him starting at $10.032 mil. (We explain Monta's situation here.)
So yeah, it's weird. He's not opting in ... but you still root for him, for the Mavs' benefit.
*Are there other plums on Sacto's roster worth pursuing? Sure. Is that management team willing to fire-sale the roster because George Karl's decided he doesn't like it? But there are lots of plums on lots of rosters.
*And now there is this: the Kings owner and GM Divac are saying Cousins is going nowhere. ... Which makes the most sense of all for that franchise. The fuel for the trade talk seems to be some sort of desire on the part of Karl to get rid of Cousins. ... Which makes for a weird dynamic going forward, especially with DMC's snake-in-the-grass tweet.
??????— DeMarcus Cousins (@boogiecousins) June 23, 2015
*We suspect the Mavs will be busy in the coming days trying to juggle assets ("juggle," we hope, doesn't mean "give away"). There might be a way to use the draft to acquire a veteran backcourt starter now; as we've mentioned before, Dallas has some point guard insurance with Devin Harris, the possible retention of JJ Barea, the pursuit of DFW resident Mo Williams and even the popular DB.com Boards ideas of a second stint in Dallas for one-time Mavs prospect Jeremy Lin and a first stint for all-time Mavs prospect Petteri Koponen. (We've meanwhile tapped the brakes on Ty Lawson, knowing the Mavs' thoughts on his knuckleheadness. And we're seeing Pat Beverly as being too expensive to win a bidding contest. So ... maybe George Hill?)
Veteran 2's? Monta's departure can mean room for the likes of Danny Green, Wes Matthews, Jimmy Butler ... lots of possibles there.
And there is certainly a way to use the draft to find a point guard or a wing or a power forward; we believe Dallas has narrowed its likes to two PGs, two wings and multiple 4-men. (We'll name some names later today.)
In summary: Lots of movement to be had. Lots of panic to be avoided. In a way, Boogie Cousins is symbolic, Summer Shopping in a nutshell. We suspect either DMC stays in Sacramento and the coach is against him, or DMC is shipped off and the owner and new GM look like gullible saps.
There are many snakes out there in that grass. There are also many Mavs options in that grass. Here's hoping we don't come away from the NBA Draft and the July 1 opening of free agency with the Mavs also looking like gullible saps.