The Kings want to make a playoff run next season with DeMarcus Cousins as the centerpiece of the franchise, league sources told CSNCalifornia.com.
The Celtics reportedly have significant interest in Cousins and are expected to utilize their bevy of draft picks to secure the 6-foot-11 center from Sacramento, according to an ESPN report.
Cousins, a first time All-Star this season, averaged career-highs of 24.1 points per game and 12.7 rebounds per game, while finishing tied for third in the NBA with 47 double-doubles despite missing 23 games due to illness and injury.
The NBA can be a fickle, mercurial place and nowhere was that more apparent than in Sacramento last season.
The Kings fired Michael Malone, who had bonded with Cousins, after an 11-13 start to the season. Assistant coach Ty Corbin took over, but Sacramento stumbled to an 18-34 record before a long, public courtship with George Karl was finally consummated at the All-Star break.
With contradicting media reports that Cousins was against the hiring of Karl, the 24-year-old issued a statement in February stating that he was not against playing for the sixth-winningest coach in the history of the NBA.
Karl lead the Kings to an 11-19 record over the final 30 games of the season.
“I’ve had some great players and I’ve never had one player that I have said is untradeable,” Karl said in April. “You always got to be ready for the possibility of a great trade that could come your way.
“I know I respect (DeMarcus Cousins) a tremendous amount ... I think our give and take and our communication has been almost on a daily basis. Until we can really get to a special place together, I think we’ve got to continue to communicate, what he wants and what I want.”
Cousins, the fifth overall pick in the 2010 draft just completed his fifth season in Sacramento and the Kings have yet to win more than 29 games with the center on the roster.
Cousins, known for his fiery demeanor on the floor, is under contract with the Kings through the 2017-18 season, though plenty of teams would love to acquire his services.