DeMarcus Cousins has long been a subject of trade rumors, mostly fueled by the Sacramento Kings' traditional ineptitude. He's certainly coveted by MFFL, who love to envision ways for the Dallas Mavericks to trade for him.
MFFL, you're in good company. Dallas coach Rick Carlisle salivates, too.
Said Carlisle on Tuesday as the 4-16 Mavs prepped for tonight's visit from the Kings (7:30 tip at the AAC, GameThread here): "He's as big of a matchup problem at the center position as I've seen in some time. Just because now he effectively shoots 3s, he's a beast on the inside, he can shoot midrange and he's a great passer and an unselfish player.''
Carlisle wasn't talking in terms ot trading for Cousins, of course -- just talking basketball. And Boogie is trying to do the same thing, recently telling the Sacramento Bee, "I'm a King. I'm good.''
Cousins has the 2017-18 season remaining on his contract, so it is natural to wonder if someday he might depart Sacramento, which is 7-13 this season (with four losses in its last five outings) and has never been a playoff team since he was drafted there in 2010. Cousins has played for six coaches in that span, a stark contrast to the Carlisle-led stability that is a Dallas strength. And of course, Cousins' little brother Jaleel plays for Dallas' D-League affiliate in Frisco, the Texas Legends. So even as the Mavs lack the sort of assets it might take to pull off a trade, and even though 2018 free agency is a long way off, it's natural to wonder. ...
At the same time, our David Lord, in breaking down the future of the CBA, believes teams are more likely to retain players in the Kings/Cousins circumstance. (Read Lord's fine work here). So ... back to basketball.
Cousins, just 26, is averaging a career-high 29.1 points on 47-percent shooting from the field and 39 percent from beyond the arc. He's also contributing 10.5 boards, 3.2 assists, 1.2 steals, and 1.4 blocks.
No wonder Carlisle is raving.
"There are many, many challenges,'' to dealing with Cousins, Rick said. "He's virtually impossible to guard one-on-one in the post, and I've never seen a center drive the ball like that."
The Kings don't necessarily give him much help, though on paper their starting lineup looks competitive:
Darren Collison (PG)
Arron Afflalo (SG)
Rudy Gay (SF)
DeMarcus Cousins (PF)
Kosta Koufos (C)
Note that we've got Koufos starting at center, reason being Carlisle mentioned it as a possibility. (See more from inside the Mavs workout in "All-Access Pass: Trade Partners, Injury Updates And Crazed Dogs.'') If Sacto goes that way, it still doesn't detract from Rick's point that Boogie is a center who can do everything required of that position while also being capable of dominating at the 4 ... and doing things on the perimeter as if he's a 6-11, 270-pound wing.
The Mavs (who won't have bigs Dirk Nowitzki or Andrew Bogut, or guard JJ Barea, with ex-Kings guard Seth Curry hoping to try to play) will likely counter thusly:
Deron Williams (PG)
Wesley Matthews (SG)
Dorian Finney-Smith (SF)
Harrison Barnes (PF)
Dwight Powell (C)
Who in that group handles Boogie Cousins? Maybe nobody. Because he's a King. He's good. And he's a beast.