• Michael Lynch

The Last Straw

There are several self-help books at bookstores everywhere. A lot of them have advice on bad relationships. Most of them will tell you that when the relationship is too toxic, the only way to help both people in the relationship is to end it. A lot of the times the two involved will know that they need to end the relationship, but the little rewards they are getting from the relationship is good enough to make them want to stay together.

The Kings and Demarcus Cousins relationship has been a bad relationship. It’s hard to ignore the signs. They never reached the playoffs, never had a coach last longer than two years, and never looked like they even like each other half of the time. But Cousins helped the Kings sell tickets and provided excitement for the organization and the Kings helped fill Cousins pockets.

Dave Joerger is the newest Kings coach to try and be the Boogie whisperer. This should be the final straw for both the Kings and Cousins. If the organization can’t find stability with Joerger, I think a break-up is more than necessary. They couldn’t re-sign Rondo, who Cousins was becoming quite fond of having feed him the ball. Cousins has a good relationship with Rudy Gay, and the reports are saying that the Kings have tried to trade Gay, and he knows and now he wants out of Sacramento. Not to mention the fact that the Kings have drafted centers in their past two drafts and signed Kosta Koufos last year. This isn’t even the first time that the Kings have wasted draft picks on the same player they picked the year before. They picked Ben Mclemore and then the very next draft picked Nik Stauskas (who they ended up trading to the 76ers and gave them a draft pick for it).

But even with all of this going on, up until this past year’s draft, I had hope for SacTown. I wrote about how I thought Willie Cauley-Stein and Cousins could’ve worked like some hybrid poor man’s version of David Robinson and Tim Duncan (a very, very poor man’s version). I liked the idea of playing both Cousins and WCS both at the same time and switching on defense between the other team’s two bigs. Then when one of them got tired you could go small with Gay at the stretch-four and either Cousins, WCS, or Koufos at center. I could see that being a successful roster if Mclemore grew and with a solid point guard (or a decent Darren Collison). Then the draft happened.

I’m officially waving the white flag on this team. There are a lot of different trades they could do in order to keep talent around Cousins, but they’ll still be a lottery team no matter what they do. Even that won’t help them, because they have a terrible draft record. The best way for them to get guaranteed talent to help improve the roster and their future is to trade Cousins. Here are just a few of my ideas.

Boogie for Amir Johnson and Marcus Smart – Celtics

Boston would of course have to give up some of those draft picks, which I’ve already stated won’t help the Kings, but the main piece would be Marcus Smart. Amir Johnson gives the Kings a nice expiring contract and a solid 4 to play with WCS or Koufos, but the only reason to do this trade would be if the Kings believed in Smart and his potential for running the offense long term. This trade would be the best conservative trade they could make that still gives them a good future.

Boogie and S. Labissiere for Russell, Randle, Williams and Calderon – Lakers

This would be the trade I would do in a minute if I was the Kings and this is the trade that I absolutely wouldn’t do if I’m the Lakers. Do I need to remind Lakers fans about what happened last time you traded your future for a big name center? Now you could do this trade without Russell and Collison and maybe it would be more realistic for the Lakers, but then I don’t think the Kings will trade Boogie for just Julius Randle and two aging guards.

Boogie for Ibaka - Magic

Ahhhh… nope. This wouldn’t happen, and shouldn’t happen, but I thought it was interesting that it worked. The Magic have enough big men, I’m not even sure they looked at their roster yet, and while the Kings could use Ibaka, they won’t be trading him for Cousins straight up any time soon. Next.

Boogie and Gay for Gallinari, Faried, and Nelson

Reunite Cousins with a coach he finally liked? Get back solid talent that can actually work with your roster for the next two years? And the money works for both teams? Why hasn’t this happened?

Now despite what Hollinger’s analysis says, the Nuggets will have to give up a draft pick or two in order to make this work, but I would say it's worth it. Swapping Gay for Gallinari and swapping Faried for Cousins? Throwing in Nelson to make the money work, and this could help both teams. A Mudiay/Cousins pick and roll with Gay, Wilson Chandler, and Mike Miller on the three-point line would be lethal. Also by doing this trade, Denver could use their other talented bigs as trade-bait to continue helping their roster.

Now despite calling the Mudiay/Cousins pick and roll lethal, they probably wouldn't make the playoffs, and if they did, they wouldn’t make it far. But this would be a fresh start for both parties. Gay and Cousins both jump ship and Sacramento isn’t devastated by either players walking with nothing in return (not saying Cousins would, just saying he probably should).

For the Kings side, you get a solid shooter in Gallinari, a hard working power forward, and a solid back-up point guard. Now I know that Gallinari has had more than his fair share of injury problems, and that’s why I’m certain the Nuggets would have to throw in a pick or two. Then you can let your newly acquired young centers blossom without the shadow of Boogie lurking over them, and you have some Collision insurance with Nelson.

This trade works. This trade should happen. #FreeBoogie

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