In case you missed it, DeMarcus Cousins is making gigantic waves again. After the Spurs dismantled the Kings on Monday, Sacramento's All-star center reportedly berated George Karl in front of a number of onlookers. Although he apologized afterwards, an unmistakable pattern continues and leads to one conclusion: someone needs to depart soon.
Over the summer The Bird Writes took a half-hearted look at the possibility of bringing Cousins to New Orleans via a trade. At the time, Boogie was embroiled in a public debate with Karl, reportedly revolving around the head coach expressing a desire to move the oft-disgruntled big man out of Sacramento.
Now, it seems Karl may be just as much on the hot seat as Cousins; however, with Boogie playing in his sixth season and the Kings off to a 2-7 start, many are beginning to jump off his bandwagon. Even SB Nation's own Tom Ziller feels it might be best that the Kings franchise moves in a different direction, one that includes life without Boogie.
Ziller goes on to accurately state that teams will pony up to land him and the Boston Celtics make for an attractive trade partner. They have a number of draft picks in their back pocket including an unprotected first-rounder via the Brooklyn Nets.
Indeed, after watching the early success of the Andrew Wiggins and Karl-Anthony Towns combination up in Minnesota, trading away a top tier talent in return for a top draft pick or two has to be tempting for King's owner Vivek Ranadive. It certainly appears to be working for the Timber Wolves after they dealt Kevin Love to the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Over this past summer, though, Vivek didn't seem interested in acquiring unproven talent. The Kings will be playing in a new arena next season, the Golden 1 Center, and he was reportedly interested in fielding a competitive product on it's opening night. Coach Karl has also expressed interest in avoiding a rebuild if for selfish reasons alone -- his win/loss record is important to him.
If by some chance the Kings decide to keep Karl and send Boogie packing, it's not out of left field that the New Orleans Pelicans could emerge as a potential suitor.
Pelicans send two picks, Kings effectively clear the books. pic.twitter.com/ye9M6LfN2C— Hardwood Paroxysm (@HPbasketball) November 11, 2015
For once, New Orleans has all of their future draft picks in tow. With the team off to a 1-7 start, their 2016 first round draft pick is looking more and more delectable by the day.
Meanwhile, Karl's offense has never had a particular need for a high-usage center. Rather, he is a big proponent of dribble-drive motion, a system that attacks opponents through the dribble. This was best exemplified by most of his Denver Nugget teams that relied on guards and wings creating the offense from the perimeter. Big men were best suited to be of the low-usage variety like Kenneth Faried: players who screened well, rebounded even better and never asked for touches.
If the Kings choose the less popular route, how would Cousins fit under Alvin Gentry, and in particular, alongside Anthony Davis and high usage players like Jrue Holiday and Tyreke Evans? Very delicately.
It's no secret that the Pelicans ball movement has not attained the level set forth by the coaching staff. Adding Cousins probably wouldn't initially help those matters. However, given time, it might be possible. Cousins and Anthony Davis are two of the better passing bigs in the game. Surround them with wings who buy into the system (and who in their right mind would dare go against the wishes of Boogie and AD?), the Pelicans could field the most dominating lineup in the game today.
In areas that Davis' game has not yet flourished, Cousins would fill in the gaps nicely, in particular, with post play and a solid paint presence. Davis would be free to roam the perimeter and not worry about defending from the 5-spot, the position which requires players give the most help when necessary.
When Alvin Gentry first spoke about his new team, he claimed he would be able to mold Omer Asik into some form of Andrew Bogut. Granted, it's only been several games, but no one can foresee it happening. The team doesn't want Asik making quick decisions with the ball around the elbows -- it's never been nor will be his forte.
On the other hand, Cousins could afford Gentry that luxury. In a well-written article by Zach Harper, Cousins isn't all that different from Carmelo Anthony on paper.
Karl can indeed look to his final campaign with Carmelo Anthony in Denver as a bit of inspiration for figuring this out. While it's obvious that Anthony and Cousins are very much different players who occupy different positions, the way in which they attack and the distribution of their respective shots are relatively similar.
Cousins actually isn't the ball-stopper Melo has historically been. In fact, only Joakim Noah, Blake Griffin and Josh Smith had a higher assist rate as a big man last season than Cousins (20.4 percent).
The big takeaway here is versatility. Cousins has it in abundance, and this season he's taken it a step further through the advent of a three-point shot. Through five games, he is averaging 3.8 attempts from behind the arc and hitting at a 42.1% clip. Sure, we should expect that number to go down, but it exemplifies his almost limitless potential.
Some believe Cousins only needs to get out of Sacramento. Winning could take care of all that baggage that shows up every so often as dirty laundry, and it obviously wouldn't hurt landing within an organization that oozes high-character. Demps and the roster he has assembled could help provide the direction Cousins sorely needs, and in turn, Demps would land the biggest available game-changer possible with draft picks he normally has shown no use for.
Even the best laid plans sometimes need readjustment, and with the Pelicans current core yet to string together a decent amount of games together for over the last several years, count me in favor.