Let's not mince words—the Sacramento Kings would be nuts to trade star center DeMarcus Cousins. Despite the sideshow he sometimes brings and the constant trade rumors that have surrounded him this year, talented centers don't simply grow on trees.
Which is one reason why a team like the Charlotte Bobcats would probably be willing to give up quite a bit to land Cousins.
Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports writes, "The Bobcats could make a run at trading for DeMarcus Cousins. They have young players and as many as three first-round picks next summer, a source said."
Why wouldn't they make a run for him? Cousins is averaging 16.6 points and 9.9 rebounds per game this season. If I were the Bobcats, I'd want him on my team, too. Frankly, if I were the Bobcats I would probably want a lot of players other than the ones I had around, but that's neither here nor there.
And give Cousins some credit—despite the rumors, he's still playing well, as Seth Landman of ESPN points out:
DeMarcus Cousins certainly doesn't seem to be letting the trade rumors get the best of him. The Kings' embattled big man threw up another 18 points, 16 rebounds and 6 assists in a road win over the Cavaliers. You'd still like to see a little more efficiency out of him, but since sitting out of a home-and-home against the Trail Blazers on either side of Christmas day, Cousins has strung together four really good games in a row.
And yes, there are plenty of other teams rumored to be interested in Cousins, including two identified by David Aldridge of NBA.com:
Many execs around the league have the Celtics and Pistons at the top of the list of Cousins admirers, even after this latest episode. The Boston Scenario goes like this: surely Cousins would straighten up and fly right if he was surrounded by winners; if he had Doc Rivers barking in one ear and KG barking in the other, he'd have no choice but to give in to the Mystique.
Still, the Celtics are willing to take the gamble, according to another league source, and embrace the challenge of keeping Cousins on the right path.
The latest episode was a shouting match between Cousins and head coach Keith Smart at halftime of a December 21st game, which ended with Cousins being suspended for a game. Cousins is, quite frankly, a bit of a head case, and he hasn't exactly been good for team chemistry in Sacramento.
But any professional sports team is comprised, at least partially, of big egos, head cases, strong personalities and people who clash. Finding a way to be successful and navigate through those issues is the difference between being successful and a talented underachiever.
That goes both ways—Cousins needs to change, plain and simple, but the Kings need to show him that in doing so, everyone will win. A focused, mature Cousins only means good things for everybody in Sacramento.
If Cousins can't change and the Kings have to trade him, that's still a loss for the team. Any time a top talent needs to be shipped away, an opportunity is lost. It might fix problems in the short term, but it limits a team's potential in the long run.
I'm not trying to be a Cousins apologist here, there's no questioning that the dude needs to change his attitude. But if the Kings end up dealing him, well, it will be a step backward for the organization, no matter how you slice it.