Would Acquiring DeMarcus Cousins Be a Smart Move for the Phoenix Suns?
In recent days, rumors of a DeMarcus Cousins trade and a different landing spot have come to light. According to Arizona Sports' John Gambadoro, the Phoenix Suns and Sacramento Kings have had discussions about the All-Star big man.
We've seen this before, though. The Boston Celtics have been associated with Cousins' name for quite some time, and, despite a plethora of young assets, nothing has materialized. But this seems a little different.
Word has it the Suns have offered an attractive package, signaling that they're not joking around. Add in GM Ryan McDonough's recent comments on coach Earl Watson's ability to manage a difficult player, they only increase the seriousness of the situation.
Still, would Cousins be worth the hassle that could accompany him in Phoenix?
Over his six-plus seasons in the NBA, Cousins has averaged 21.0 points, 10.8 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 1.2 blocks in 31.9 minutes per game. He's shot an effective field goal percentage of 47.1% with a sizable 31.8% usage rate. This year has been more of the same.
Regardless of the Kings' losing ways, Cousins is in the midst of a career year. He's posting career-highs in points, assists and three-pointers (1.8) per game. His usage rate (37.4%) is also at an all-time high, but Boogie has still managed to maintain an effective field goal percentage of 49.7% -- also a personal-best.
Cousins hasn't suffered from his heavy workload, either. On the contrary, at 26 years old, he's having his most efficient season ever.
Boogie's nERD of 5.3 tells us that, on a league-average squad, he would add 5.3 wins over .500 to that team's win-loss record. This isn't quite as high as his mark of 6.1 from three seasons ago, but that was achieved over the course of a full season. Cousins has 33 games to add to his player ranking.
In support of that, he's achieved career highs in true shooting percentage (56.4%), player efficiency rating (27.2) and win shares per 48 minutes (.171). Meanwhile his box plus-minus -- a box score estimate of the points per 100 possessions a player contributed above a league-average player -- of 6.9 ranks 10th in the NBA.
Cousins does it all and does it well. The Suns are ranked 18th in average attendance, so they could certainly use a player of his caliber.
The Asking Price
How does a team go about obtaining someone like this? After all, it's not everyday that a franchise player is made available for other teams to call him their franchise player.
According to multiple reports, the price was too steep for the Celtics back when they considered trading for the veteran's services. So, it's not going to be easy, and it seems like the Suns know that.
Again, coming from John Gambadoro, the Suns have proposed a deal involving T.J. Warren, Alex Len, their 2017 first-round pick and possibly more. That has to be appealing to the Kings considering they'd receive a young small forward and center, not to mention a likely top-10 pick, in return. They could build quite a young and talented nucleus to go with their brand-new arena.
However, if the Kings aren't satisfied and it takes more than two solid players and a draft pick to lure Boogie away from Sactown, the Suns could still pull it off. According to Real GM, the Suns own all of their future picks, as well as two first-round picks by way of shipping Goran Dragic to the Miami Heat two seasons ago. They have draft picks to spare, so they certainly have what it takes to appeal to a possible rebuild for the Kings.
It's now a matter of whether Sacramento is willing to pull the trigger and if the Suns are prepared to unload more than a single pick in the process. For Phoenix, it all boils down to how much they want Boogie.
A Bunch o' Wildcats
Cousins and the Suns should have even more incentive for this to happen. It would create one big Kentucky family reunion.
Beyond Cousins' relationship with former teammate Eric Bledsoe, a trade would bring together five former Wildcats, in Cousins, Bledsoe, Brandon Knight, Devin Booker and Tyler Ulis. It's likely that the starting lineup would include three of them.
Normally, this would just be a fun fact to know. However, in light of Cousins' behavioral issues, it's important to bring him in to a familial culture. In turn, he and Bledsoe could do wonders in developing the 20-year-old Booker. If Cousins were to sign a lucrative extension -- as is expected with his current team -- he, Bledsoe and Booker would share the floor until at least 2018-19.
It looks like a win-win transaction for both sides. I think I speak for all NBA fans when I say, "Free Boogie!"