SACRAMENTO -- The rumor mill is in full swing and of course, the Sacramento Kings are front and center...like always. With the December 15 moratorium passed, teams can now trade players they acquired over the summer via free agency. It always opens the door for at least a small amount of player movement.
With so many teams jockeying for position, this very well could be one of the most active trade seasons we have seen in awhile. The Kings lack draft picks to acquire additional pieces, but that doesn’t mean they won’t be active between now and the February 18 trade deadline.
The massive bump in the NBA salary cap next season may also play a huge role in how teams manage their rosters this season.
SUITORS LINING UP FOR COUSINS?
If and when the Sacramento Kings decide to put the 25-year-old All-Star center on the block, the line of potential suitors will be quite long.
According to Michael Scotto of Sheridan Hoops, “DeMarcus Cousins has drawn significant trade interest from the Boston Celtics, Miami Heat and Chicago Bulls.”
Scotts goes on to say, “Sacramento is listening, but the Kings are in a holding pattern and currently have no plans to make a deal."
According to a source with knowledge of the Kings' plans, “reports this week suggesting Cousins could be on the move are the handiwork of imaginative reporting.”
Cousins is a favorite of owner Vivek Ranadivé, for sure, but he has also quickly climbed under the wing of both Vlade Divac and Rajon Rondo.
According to sources, Divac, who the Kings handed basketball operations over to this summer, was hit with incredible offers from multiple teams in the offseason for Cousins. Since that time, the two have only become closer, leaving very little doubt that Cousins will remain with the team long-term.
Adding to this equation in the impending free agency of Rondo. After a rough 2014-15 season, Rondo is leading the NBA in assists and quickly taken over as the Kings leader both on and off the court.
Despite a week of turmoil, CSN California has learned that the Kings would love nothing more than to ink Rondo to a deal this summer. He is not eligible for an extension, but like every other team in the league, Sacramento will have plenty of cap space to spend on the temperamental point guard.
Rondo loves Cousins. He has stated countless times that the primary reason he came to the Kings was to play alongside a player he considers to be the best big man in the game. The two have bonded quickly and in addition, Rondo is also extremely close with Rudy Gay.
It may sound crazy, but the Kings would like to build around Rondo, Cousins and Gay. Dealing Cousins isn’t even on the table at this point. The franchise cornerstone is in the second year of a four-year deal. Sacramento has plenty of time to figure out what they want to do in this situation. At $32 million owed over the next two seasons, Cousins is a massive bargain under the new NBA salary figures.
BUTLER A BUCK?
According to Marc Stein of ESPN, veteran wing Caron Butler has been promised a ticket out of town by the Kings brass. Butler, 35, has played sparingly for coach George Karl, with the forward seeing action in just eight of the Kings 25 games so far this season after signing a two-year deal during the summer.
Butler, a 14-year NBA vet has value as a spot bench player and a locker room presence. He is averaging a career-low 2.5 points in 10 minutes per game for Sacramento, but he has seen action in just one of the Kings last 12 games.
According to Stein, who has solid ties within the Kings organization, Milwaukee has emerged as a potential suitor for Butler’s services. There is no word on what Sacramento would want in return for Butler, but at this point in his career, his value lies in his leadership skills more than his ability on the floor.
The likelihood that Butler’s days in Sacramento are numbered is on par with what we are hearing. He is under contract for $1.5 million this season with a player option for next year at $1.55 million.