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Back and Forth on DeMarcus Cousins

Potential DeMarcus Cousins trade?

Would you do this deal (+ a first rounder to SAC) if you were Charlotte? We discuss.

It’s not exactly breaking news at the moment, as the rumors that the Bobcats are interested in DeMarcus Cousins first came out a few days ago. But it was the holidays, and it took us some time to sit down and discuss this potential trade. And this one gets its own column because it would be among the biggest trades in Bobcats’ history, if not the biggest (The original Jason Richardson deal or when they dealt away Gerald Wallace being the primary competitors in my mind). With that said, here’s some thoughts from the crew at QCH. – Brett

Brett: I’m trying to figure out what the Bobcats would offer (I’m hoping MKG is not available) – and with the Kings having 3 point guards already in Brooks, Jimmer, and mini-Thomas, would they be interested in Kemba (who seems the Bobcats second best trade chip? I’m thinking Bismack would be third, based on potential, but there’s a gap to me).

Taking on Salmons’ contract (3 years at just over 8M per) and Cousins (and possibly Jimmer?) for
Kemba and picks? The Cats have enough cap space to take back significant salary this year (though so do the Kings, and this might put them in trouble of the minimum salary floor).

Greg: Cousins would be a pretty good get for the team. I might be concerned with how he’d get along with Dunlap, but he’d instantly help address so the team’s rebounding and defensive issues. He’s not very efficient, especially this year, but his offensive rebounding and passing would help the scoring in general.

I’d guess that, barring a slam dunk deal, MKG is off the table — he’s shown enough talent and room for growth that they’ll probably want at least another year to evaluate what they’ve got.

Kemba makes a little more sense, but you’re right — the Kings already seem to have a logjam there. Kemba’s better than any of their current guys, though, so there might some interest.

As for whether I’d be willing to trade him for Cousins…I don’t know. I like Kemba a lot; I think that one day, he could be a top-three guy on a good team (a la Jason Terry). But it seems like point guard is such a stacked position in the league these days that Cousins is just a rarer prospect. Charlotte could plug Ramon in right now and probably replace 80% or more of Kemba’s production.

Here’s probably a realistic offer:
Kings get: Kemba, Biyombo, Diop (expiring).
Bobcats get: Cousins, Isaiah Thomas, Salmons (or Outlaw)

Both sides basically pull a swap on their prospects. Sacramento gets a very promising backcourt prospect and a young frontcourt piece with potential; the Bobcats get the reverse. Kings get an additional bit of cap relief, if only because Cousins is probably the prospect with the highest upside.

I think Charlotte will probably go out of their way to hold on to their picks, but if Sacramento is willing to settle for Portland’s first-rounder instead of Biyombo, that would obviously be a better deal.

Spencer: Personally, I think it would be a bad move for Charlotte to acquire DeMarcus Cousins. It’s not because the guy isn’t one of the best front court talents in the league right now and doesn’t have the ability to become one of the best players in the league by growing up in a big way, but it lies within the concept that it goes in the opposite direction of where the Bobcats say they want to go.

Now, since the hiring of Rich Cho the precept of this rebuilding process has been to rebuild through the draft and be smart with the way that this franchise spends money in order to have some flexibility in the free agent market. Another very important aspect of the rebuilding plan was to draft and acquire “high quality” players that had a good work ethic, positive attitude and wanted to win. Kemba, Biyombo, Kidd-Gilchrist and Taylor all fit that mold very well. Cousins does not.

If the Amico tweet is accurate, that would likely suggest that the Bobcats are offering Kemba, Biyombo and a 1st round pick. I hate it. I hate it. I hate it.

Making a trade to get DeMarcus Cousins would give the Bobcats a great talent and the best front court player to ever play in a Cats jersey, but it would require giving away much of the young talent that this team has drafted in the past two years. To me, Cousins isn’t worth the high quality characteristics player this franchise has begun to build the nest on. Sure, he could come to Charlotte and be the player that everyone knows that Cousins is capable of being. We all know that he’s traditionally been a very hard player to coach and not the best locker room presence – if that’s the guy he is in Charlotte as well, it’d put this franchise back at least five years and back to square one. So, does the risk outweigh the reward? Yes.

Mathew: I don’t see the Bobcats being willing to take back salary in the way of Salmons in order to make the deal happen. That’s essentially adding salary via he and Cousins because you have to expect to pay him somewhere near max money after next season. I think they would rather move the Portland pick to sweeten the deal. I also don’t think they’d move Kemba, due in large part to how the fans view him (I think he’s the current face of the franchise and playing much better this season, fueling the unrealistic expectations for him) and their perception of the franchise after the Wallace trade. Whether that’s right or wrong – debatable.

I could see them (and would be in favor) making this kind of offer:

Portland Pick



Greg: I don’t know if the Kings would be willing to let him go for just Biyombo/Sessions, especially with Jimmer thrown in. That’d be a downgrade at both positions.

Mathew: I think Sessions could be re-shipped by them elsewhere to a playoff bound team looking for a backup guard. His $5MM contract over the next 2 years is valuable. I also think Sessions is a better player than Jimmer. Different players though.

The pick isn’t enough to make it happen?

Greg: Yeah, but flipping Ramon would basically net them a late first-rounder or another decent guy. I’d rather have Jimmer for three more years – he’s significantly improved his shooting, even if his defense is still terrible. He could be a good spot-up guy.

The Portland pick looks like it could come this year, which wouldn’t be a great haul, either. This draft is supposed to be terrible, and it’d be in the 12-16 range.

Spencer: The deal that Amico was probably referring to, if it actually happened, was probably Kemba, Biz and a 1st. Yes, the Kings would have a tough time turning that down, but I think the league understands that’s what it’s going to take to get Cousins as well.

If the Amico tweet is accurate, that would likely suggest that the Bobcats are offering Kemba, Biyombo and a 1st round pick. Again, I hate it. I hate it. I hate it. Even if it does involve either Jimmer, Isaiah Thomas, or Aaron Brooks.

Mathew: I don’t think I would do that deal as presently constructed (Kemba, Biz, Portland pick for Cousins and Jimmer) – no. Substitute Sessions for Kemba and I’ll sign on the dotted line, but trading away two young and marketable players for one – albeit more talented – mercurial player would in my opinion be a step back for the franchise. You have to take risks (especially in a smaller market) to build a winning organization but this trade presents too many to justify the move for the Bobcats.

Greg: Yeah, Kemba/Biz/First-rounder seems to be the consensus for that “hard to turn down” deal.

In general, I’d be interested in trading for Cousins. Bismack is the closest thing the team has to a good prospect in the frontcourt, and it’s equally likely he’ll always have significant limitations. Cousins has a lot of red flags, and there’s no telling whether he’ll buy in to the team’s culture or not. But he’s definitely talented enough to start building a team around him and MKG.

If the deal is Kemba, Biyombo and a first for Cousins and another piece…I’d be tempted, but I’d end up saying no. On the one hand, Cousins is likely a better prospect than anyone the Bobcats will find in this year’s draft or free agency. The roster would have a better balance, too, both immediately and moving forward.

On the other hand, it does feel like Charlotte would be cashing in their chips too early. It’s unlikely that Kemba is going to lose much value over the next year or two; if need be, the team can always trade him later when they have a better feel for where they’re headed. The team is bad right now, and has a lot of awkward fits, but there’s not much reason to empty out the cupboard just yet. I’d rather they just sit tight until the offseason and make a few smaller moves.

Brett: To wrap things up – three no’s to the trade we think is the one that it would take/has been offered, though with interest in Cousins from Mathew and Greg, just not 3 lottery picks worth of interest (assuming Portland pick winds up being in the lotto, tail end though it would be).

I’m also a no to Kemba and Bismack – but would accept most deals that only required one of them, even if it meant adding some salary in Salmons. My reasoning is in adding as many talented players as possible and figuring things out from there. Cousins could turn out to be Zach Randolph and Memphis was rewarded for taking on that former headache.

And that’s the end of our current email chain about this – but we’d love to hear the readers’ thoughts in the comments.