With the troubles that the superstar big man is having in Sacramento, a trade is all but imminent. Could the Charlotte Hornets put together a viable deal?
Let’s get one thing straight. This is not a trade rumor and there is no indication hat this move could or would actually happen. With that said, let’s have some fun and take a look at what the Charlotte Hornets could do to try and get a star-level player in DeMarcus Cousins on their team this year.
Cousins has been the center of NBA trade rumors for some years now. He is stuck in a poisonous situation and a toxic culture with the Sacramento Kings. A number of teams have wanted the all-star center but with his talent comes baggage that some would rather not take a chance on.
That would be the biggest question mark for the Hornets on whether or not to make a move for DeMarcus. He is one of the best and most skilled big men in the league but by making a trade for him, the team could disrupt their current chemistry. On the other hand, garnering a talent like his could push them into title contention or at the very least, in contention for an Eastern Conference Final.
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It would be a major risk for Charlotte but they could reap the benefits of a major reward by making the blockbuster move. Cousins’ contract runs through the 2017-18 season and with the new CBA coming next year, it may be easier to retain star players than ever before. Buzz City would also give DeMarcus a break from his toxic situation in Sacramento. If he could find a quieter home in Charlotte, he may be more inclined to stick around long term.
There aren’t many trades involving the Hornets, Kings, and Cousins that make sense or work financially but the best and most realistic would have to include Cody Zeller. Sacramento would likely want a replacement player, a young guard, and a first round pick combination in exchange for DeMarcus. It is a lot to give up but it takes a lot to get a legit star and a top-10 player in the NBA like Cousins is.
Here is the best looking and most conceivable trade that I could make up that works on ESPN’s Trade Machine:
Hornets get C, DeMarcus Cousins
Kings get C, Cody Zeller SG, Jeremy Lamb PF, Frank Kaminsky Lottery Protected First Round Pick
This may seem like the Hornets are giving up a lot but in reality, Cousins is a like for like swap for Zeller. Jeremy Lamb has talent but Marco Belinelli has taken his role. Frank Kaminsky is struggling mightily but he is still young enough to have some upside and either Spencer Hawes or Christian Wood could take his spot. Also, Charlotte has all of their first round picks until 2024, they haven’t been the best franchise at drafting, and having DeMarcus would almost ensure that they contend or at the very least compete in the playoffs every season.
While many might not want to break up the chemistry that has been built over the past few years, a move of this caliber would completely change the Hornets and their expectations. They are a quality team but this team isn’t championship level. A big three of Kemba Walker, Nicolas Batum, and DeMarcus Cousins could be a legit threat in the East.
The NBA is all about takig risks. Not many pay off the way team want them to but taking risks shows a desire and a commitemnt to getting better and competing. If you ask me, the Charlotte Hornets are in the perfect position to at least contemplate a move for one DeMarcus Cousins.