Morning shootaround — June 23


VIDEO: Draft HQ’s experts discuss the top 3 prospects in the Draft

NEWS OF THE MORNING

Reports: Lakers trying to land Cousins | Report: Wolves shopping Bennett | Conflicting reports on potential Wade-Heat meeting

No. 1: Reports: Lakers interested in trading for Kings’ Cousins; Karl and Cousins on outs? — Guys like Sacramento Kings center DeMarcus Cousins are hard to find in the NBA. He’s an All-Star big man, a legit low-post threat on offense, a solid shot-blocker and a double-double player in three of his five seasons to date. It’s not surprising, then, that teams are interested in prying him away from Sacramento, and as ESPN.com’s Marc Stein and Yahoo Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski report, the Los Angeles Lakers are at the front of that line.

Stein had the first information on the trade, so here’s his report on what the Lakers are attempting to do (and some other teams interested in Cousins, too):

Sources told ESPN that the Lakers have been actively pursuing trade scenarios in recent weeks in attempt to construct a deal that would convince the Kings to part with Cousins.

The Kings, though, continue to insist that Cousins is not available. The team’s new lead decision-maker, Vlade Divac, told the Sacramento Bee in Sunday’s editions that dealing away his best player “is not happening.”

Sources say that the Lakers, Kings and Orlando Magic have had exploratory dialogue on a three-way Cousins trade that would land the 24-year-old in Los Angeles. All three teams hold top-6 picks in Thursday’s NBA draft, and Orlando has a young top-flight center of its own in Nikola Vucevic, who could theoretically fill the Cousins void.

Yet since assuming control of the Kings’ front office in April, Divac repeatedly has downplayed the idea of parting with Cousins, who has three seasons left on an extension he signed during the summer of 2013.

The Lakers would appear to have limited assets to get into the trade sweepstakes for Cousins — in the event that Sacramento’s stance changes — beyond surrendering prized young big man Julius Randle, young guard Jordan Clarkson and the No. 2 overall pick in Thursday’s draft. The Lakers, furthermore, could not legally trade the No. 2 pick until after making the selection and introducing that player as a Laker, since teams are precluded from trading first-round picks in consecutive drafts and the Lakers’ 2016 first-rounder is already owed to Philadelphia.

Orlando holds the fifth pick in Thursday’s proceedings but would presumably expect a lot to be willing to part with Vucevic, who signed an extension of his own last October and has become the most consistently productive player from the four-team blockbuster trade in August 2012 that sent Dwight Howard from the Magic to the Lakers.

Wojnarowski’s report digs into how the rocky dynamics between Cousins and coach George Karl may be driving a trade:

Despite Sacramento Kings management’s public insistence that DeMarcus Cousins is unavailable in deals, coach George Karl’s intense desire to trade the All-Star center has made it increasingly unlikely this coach-star partnership can peacefully co-exist next season, league sources told Yahoo Sports.

Karl has been recruiting Kings vice president of basketball operations Vlade Divac and multiple players on the Kings’ roster to unite with him in making the case to owner Vivek Ranadive that Cousins needs to be traded, league sources said.

Since the end of the 2014-15 season, Cousins has become aware of Karl’s campaign to move him – including teammates telling Cousins, sources said. All around the Kings and Cousins, there is a growing belief the coach-player relationship is irreparable. Trust is a constant theme with Cousins, and he’s been unable to build any with Karl, sources said.

No one in the Sacramento organization – not coaches, nor players, nor support staff – wants to imagine the combustible scenario awaiting Karl and Cousins should the Kings try to reunite them in training camp.

Ranadive has remained the biggest Kings advocate for holding onto Cousins, and several sources indicate he has become irritated with Karl’s insistence that the coach doesn’t believe he can manage the supremely skilled and strong-minded star. Cousins has held a firm loyalty to former Kings coach Michael Malone, whom Ranadive fired shortly into last season. Under Karl, that relationship couldn’t begin to be duplicated in the final weeks of the season.

For now, the Kings are pursuing trade scenarios for everyone on the roster, including talented forward Rudy Gay, league sources told Yahoo Sports.

Sacramento officials believe it will be difficult to find a trade partner that can give the Kings the value it wants for Cousins – and has a better chance to find a deal for Gay, sources said.


Sacramento is motivated to find a way to create more salary-cap space with possible deals, something that the Kings will need to pursue Dallas Mavericks free-agent point guard Rajon Rondo, league sources said. The Kings and Rondo have a mutual interest, with Rondo intrigued with the idea of a potential one-year deal in Sacramento that could help to rebuild his league-wide value, sources said.

Cousins took to Twitter late last night to respond to the talks with a simple message some are implying as meaning a snake in the grass:

And one more Kings thing to note: they may be interested in working a trade with the Denver Nuggets …

***

No. 2: Report: Wolves shopping Bennett — The Minnesota Timberwolves have reason to be excited about Thursday night’s NBA Draft. They have the No. 1 overall pick, and whoever they choose will play alongside the reigning Kia Rookie of the Year, Andrew Wiggins. But as they ready to make the top choice in the Draft, is another former No. 1 overall pick on their roster about to be moved? According to ESPN.com’s Marc Stein, power forward Anthony Bennett — the No. 1 overall pick in 2013 by the Cleveland Cavaliers — is being shopped about:

The Minnesota Timberwolves have made former No. 1 overall pick Anthony Bennett available via trade in advance of Thursday’s NBA draft, according to league sources.

Sources told ESPN that the Timberwolves, who are widely expected to make Kentucky’s Karl-Anthony Towns the No. 1 overall selection Thursday night, are trying to find a new home via trade from Bennett, who unexpectedly went No. 1 overall in 2013 and was acquired by Minnesota last summer from Cleveland in the Kevin Love trade.

The Cavaliers sent Andrew Wiggins and Bennett to Minnesota for Love while also surrendering a future first-round pick to the Philadelphia 76ers, which landed then-Sixer Thaddeus Young with the Wolves as well.

In February, Minnesota swapped Young for Kevin Garnett to bring home the most famous player in franchise history.

***

No. 3: Conflicting reports that Wade, Heat have meeting set — Miami Heat star Dwyane Wade has a player option on his contract this summer and his decision must be made, per NBA rules, by next week. Of late, there has been talk of he and the Los Angeles Lakers having mutual interest in each other, and more things have cropped up since then.

According to ESPN.com’s Ramona Shelburne and Brian Windhorst, Wade and the Heat are supposed to meet next week to discuss his contract:

Wade has until next Monday to decide on whether he’s going to opt in for next season and earn $16.1 million or become an unrestricted free agent.

Wade and the Heat sit far apart on their desires; the Heat would prefer for Wade to opt into the deal and Wade would prefer a new, richer and longer-term contract, sources said.

The sides have not formally spoken in some time. They had discussed a new contract for around $10 million per year for up to three years beyond his current deal, sources said.

Wade, who took a pay cut in 2010 when LeBron James and Chris Boshsigned and again last summer to help make cap space to sign Luol Deng, is interested in a pay raise and not a pay cut.

It is Wade’s desire to stay in Miami and finish his career with the Heat, sources said. However, the gulf between the sides has led to acrimony in recent weeks and cast doubt on Wade’s future. Wade has been disappointed at the team’s initial overtures considering the money he has left on the table in his past two free agencies, sources said.

James, who is Wade’s close friend, has expressed an interest in reuniting with him. However, that scenario is unlikely with the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Cavs will not have salary-cap space this summer and could offer Wade only a maximum of a $3.4 million from the taxpayer midlevel exception.

Wade also is interested in the Los Angeles Clippers, sources said, but they are as limited by their commitments and the salary-cap rules as the Cavs. Getting to the Clippers would take either a massive pay cut or the Heat’s unlikely cooperation in a sign-and-trade.

As for the Heat, they have several other roster issues they have to deal with before they might be able to make their best offer to Wade. One is Deng, who has his own opt-in option on next season for $10.1 million that he must decide on by the end of the month.

According to multiple league sources, the Heat are attempting to trade guard Mario Chalmers and big man Chris Andersen to help free up some salary that could ultimately be diverted to Wade. Both going into the final years of their contracts, Andersen and Chalmers are contracted to make a combined $9.3 million next season.

Ira Winderman of the Sun-Sentinel reports, however, that there is no scheduled meeting between Wade and Miami’s brass:

Despite reports to the contrary, a source familiar with the situation told the Sun Sentinel on Monday night that there currently is no meeting scheduled between Dwyane Wade and the Miami Heat as the clock ticks toward Wade’s Monday opt-in deadline.

In the wake of a previous ESPN report of such a meeting, a source close to the process said no such meeting between Wade and Pat Riley or other members of the Heat front office has been set.

The source said any meeting with Wade would be more likely to come after the July 1 start of free agency, since the Heat are not allowed to discuss contract parameters until then.

For Wade’s part, his representatives said he will bypass his annual media sessions at the adult basketball camp he is hosting this week at the Westin Diplomat Resort and Spa in Hollywood.

The Heat have remained mum on their personnel issues to the point of bypassing their annual pre-draft media session, with no one from the team’s scouting department scheduled to be made available in advance of Thursday’s NBA Draft, with the Heat holding the No. 10 selection.

Agent Henry Thomas told the Sun Sentinel three weeks ago that he expected upcoming contract discussions with the Heat in advance of Wade’s option deadline.

“We’ll just have to see how things continue to develop with the Heat,” he said.

***

SOME RANDOM HEADLINES: Detroit Pistons coach/team president Stan Van Gundy shot down rumors the team is trying to trade for New York Knicks guard Tim Hardaway Jr. … According to a report, the Oklahoma City Thunder have shopped Perry Jones and Jeremy Lamb in hopes of moving up in the Draft … Top prospect D’Angelo Russell recently made his pitch to the Los Angeles Lakers for them to take him No. 2 overall … Brooklyn Nets small forward Thaddeus Young is opting out of his deal to test free agency this summer … Dallas Mavericks guard Raymond Felton opted in with the team for 2015-16

24 Comments

  1. toudi says:

    if Sacramento knew how to build a championship team they would’ve done it by now! DeMarcus would be better off leaving them now and not wasting anymore time! Go to San Antonio and learn from Tim how to be a true champion..

  2. Ahaa says:

    This thing (http://espn.go.com/nba/tradeMachine) is stilll around for trade speculation and wishful thinking 😀

  3. BULLS4life says:

    and one more thing DROP GEORGE CARL HE IS INSANE IF HE WANTS TO GET RID OF HIS BEST PLAYER JUST BECAUSE HE DOSENT LIKE HIS ATTITUDE some coaches need to learn how to adjust there gameplan to the talent they have instead of trying to change the way a STAR plays he’s a STAR for a reason adapt to him put him in situations where he can thrive make the game easy for him dont run offense where his going to struggle George Carl is just as bad as Mike D’Antoni (Pau shooting 3’s Y?)

  4. BULLS4life says:

    Cousin’s is great dont get me wrong and he has made strides in toneing down his how do i put outburst to some degree but him and kobe on the same team would be a waste he demands the ball to much ( rightfully so) and Kobe is well Kobe so him on the lakers is just as bad as Kobe and Dwight it wont work Kings just need to do everything in there power to snag Rondo make Collison the sixth man and add some more dept and keep Boogie and Gay healthy they’ll be fine and a defensive focus Carl landry replacement would’nt hurt either

  5. Benjie says:

    My sentiments to wade ,Hope you get paid for what you’ve done to this ball club which is not valuing you at the moment.Wade made 21 points per game last season and the best rebounding and shot blocking guard of all time .He deserved a raised as he sacrifice multiple times in the past . Hope dragic won’t sign if wade is not signing. And what about bosh who sat most of the half of the season and got paid super max deal. I think you should get rid of charmers and Anderson as both of this guys drop in there production last season. 2nd drop mc Roberts cause that’s another millions you could save to get wade to max deal.If anything is hopeless hey wade could play with cavaliers as a trade for kyre as kyre got multiple injury problem and hasn’t proven anything.Better of with wade and lebron again as they click very well. Next you could always go to New York with Carmelo Anthony.They got salary cap when they dump amare studamire . If not hopefully not lakers , as honestly I don’t like Bryant.

  6. anothercavsfan says:

    The kings aren’t going to trade Cousins. There’s just too much potential there.

    This is just hype. The Lakers don’t have anything to get Cousins with. Even if Cousins himself wanted out, the Kings still have 2 or 3 years to try and make him happy. They won’t trade him this year that’s for sure.

    Maybe if it’s close to the end of his contract, and Cousins makes it clear that he won’t re-sign with the Kings, then they might trade him. But this is not the case yet.

  7. KingdomMan says:

    Rondo and Kobe on the same team…that doesn’t sound like a team begging to implode about five minutes after the first jump ball does it?

  8. Sick&mental kings says:

    Boogie is a potential hall of famer.. For them to even think about parting ways with him will be disastrous in sacramento. We can not afford to rebuild, when that’s exactly what we have been doing the last 6 to 7 years. I’ll make the first promise to the kings organization. If you get rid of cousins then you just lost a kings fan and season ticket holder. I can say that for a lot other kings fans to. If the trade takes place it will be equal to the curse of the bambino. Kings will be done for decades upon decades. Be smart vlade cousins is our man..

  9. Romy says:

    Should be this roster

    PG Clarkson/
    SG Bryant
    SF J. Butler/T. Harris
    PF Aldrige
    C Okafor/Towns

  10. The People says:

    The decision is Karl or Cousins. If the Kings are even thinking about trading Cousins they are insane. If Karl doesn’t want to coach Cousins, then fire Karl. Karl is replaceable, Cousins is not

  11. Sandeman says:

    I’m in no way a Lakers fan but it doesn’t feel right when they’re not at least in the playoffs. It’s good to see they’re aggressively seeking to get better right now and not rebuilding yet. It would be nice to see Kobe playing meaningful basketball in what is possibly/probably his final season. I think adding Rondo and Cousins or Rondo and Kevin Love? plus a blue-chip worker like a Matt Barnes and a big time three point threat, what’s Ray Allen up to these days? could have them contending next year.

  12. KingCav23 says:

    Trade Boogie for Love, Delly and Varejao
    Trade Wade for Kyrie.

    Cavs should start next year with: Shump, DWade, Boogie, LBJ, TT. Plus u get JR Smith incase DWade’s problematic knees acts up again and Mozgov to toughen the 2nd unit a bit. I know that both Wade and Kyrie are injury prone but atleast DWade is a proven winner and will show up in important situations.

  13. freeze3000 says:

    Wade – we all love you – if the 10 per year is on the table, TAKE IT! You got screwed, but the past is the past and 30 mill more is the best anyone is going to offer.

  14. Wiggins says:

    Lakers, i hope you make trade for cousins , but be aware that he is a big nut case too who demands the ball…should be a good kobe replacement

  15. GOLA says:

    Cousins is a Poison pill. It will be hard to find a team mate that will work with him. Might as well forget a whole contract season with him.

  16. manuel Mercado says:

    Bid mistake if Miami trade Birdman. He prove be the best coming from the bench. what about if Whiteside get sick. BIG MISTAKE MR PAT.

  17. Tad says:

    What do you expect, he’s a Lakers fan.

  18. K_Dubb says:

    Let us know when some real news develops…

  19. lakernation says:

    wow lakers are working this off season. Hope they get Cousins, Rondo & Wade.
    PG: Rondo
    SG: Wade
    SF: Kobe
    PF: Cousins
    C: Okafor

    • Jeff says:

      Really? You think they will get cousins for nothing? Okafor won’t be there if they get cousins. Not to mention L.A. won’t have the cap for wade , he wants already 16 million. Keep dreaming….

  20. Fefe (Nets) says:

    The biggest mistake for the Kings would be to accept to deal Cousins!!!!!! Boogie is too good.

  21. bayaraa says:

    lakers!!! please do not get demarcus

    • Harriethehawk says:

      But I heard that Demarcus requested to be transferred so if it’s true, he’s going somewhere. Keep it exciting why not the Fakers? Picture him, swaggy p, linsanity, baby faced rondo and Kobe all meshed into one! Lol

    • Aaron Williams says:

      So very true. Cousins is the building block for a championship team in Sacramento. They just need to build around him.