For the past month or so, DeMarcus Cousins of the Sacramento Kings, has been subject to many trade rumors. As Washington Wizards fans, such as myself, we became very intrigued at the possibility of reuniting John Wall with his former Kentucky teammate.
Many of us here at Wiz Of Awes, have had various opinions of Cousins. I, for one, am very open to the possibility of the Wizards acquiring Cousins. It seems as if I may be in the minority, as Wiz of Awes’ own William Stokes, is not a very big fan of the trade speculation.
So I went out and contacted a person who knows a ton more about DeMarcus Cousins, as well as the Sacramento Kings organization, than virtually any of us.
Blake Ellington of “Bleed Black and Purple” has covered the Sacramento Kings for many years and is a contributor to the The Sacramento Bee. I went out in search of answers to questions many of us Wizards fans have been asking; regarding DeMarcus Cousins and a possible trade that would send him to D.C. Blake was very gracious with his time, and I’m delighted to share his insight.
Ben Mehic: DeMarcus Cousins has been regarded as an enigma in Sacramento. How much of his bad reputation is derived from just simply “DeMarcus being DeMarcus”; or is Cousins a product of his environment?
Blake Ellington: DeMarcus is a different kind of individual. No one truly knows what is going on in his head at any given time. He can be funny and charismatic one minute and solemn and depressed another. These mood swings show up on the floor and that is where his reputation comes from. That being said, the Kings’ front office and ownership are a mess right now and that dysfunction can always have a direct impact on volatile players.
BM: What are some common misconceptions about DeMarcus Cousins that us outside of the Kings organization may have?
BE: That he doesn’t have a personality. When around people he is comfortable with he is very charismatic and funny. He doesn’t do well in formal settings and around the media.
BM: If you were to put a percentage on it; what are the chances of Cousins remaining in Sacramento this season? If you feel as if a trade is inevitable, where do you see Cousins ending up?
BE: I would give that a 80 percent chance based on how the Maloofs and Geoff Petrie feel about keeping Cousins. If they think he is their guy, and every indication points to that being the case, then he is going to be their guy. Petrie traditionally is very quiet about his trades and for him to come out and publicly say that Cousins isn’t going anywhere is a big deal. I allowed a 20 percent chance that someone offers them a deal they can’t refuse, but based on Cousins’ reputation, it is likely that teams are going to try to trade garbage for him thinking the Kings are desperate to rid themselves of him. I think a trade involving the Kings is inevitable this season, but I am not convinced it is going to be Cousins who is the one traded.
BM: We’ve heard reports of many teams potentially lining up in pursuit of Cousins. What would the Wizards need to give up, in order to acquire Cousins? Which assets (players, draft picks,etc.) would you expect to be possibly dealt from Washington? Is there any Wizard that you’re particularly interested in?
BE: When healthy, Nene and/or Seraphin could be nice additions. But neither of them are franchise players and the Kings have really needed a small forward for quite some time. I don’t think Trevor Ariza is consistent enough and Jan Vesely seems pretty raw still. The other young guys the Wizards have in that spot don’t seem to add more than John Salmons and James Johnson already do. The Kings are loaded with guards right now so while Beal and Crawford are good players, I am not sure they would help the logjam the Kings already have at the one and two. Ideally, the Kings should get a center and a small forward in return for any deal for Cousins. As for draft picks, the Kings have built their current team on lottery picks and it hasn’t worked so far. They need quality veterans at this point to turn things around. So while a high draft pick might sweeten any deal, the Kings aren’t salivating to land one. Now, if the Wizards were to throw in the Verizon Center as part of the deal, then I think we could have a serious conversation.
BM: According to reports, The Maloofs have been adamant about not trading DeMarcus Cousins. It’s obvious that the situation involving Cousins, Kings head coach Keith Smart, and the organization in general, has become dire. Do you buy or sell those reports that Cousins isn’t on the trading block?
BE: Like I said earlier, I think Cousins would be available in a blockbuster deal. But at this point, it sounds like the other teams are under the impression that they can “steal” Cousins because of his reputation. That’s just not the case. The Kings are still high on his talent and him being part of their future. You have to remember, it’s not easy for small market teams like Sacramento to land franchise-changing players. Because of that, it makes it that much more difficult to pull the trigger on a trade like this.
BM: How much would a change of scenery benefit Cousins? Since John Wall has had a great relationship with ‘DMC’ throughout college, and even the NBA, how would his presence influence Cousins?
BE: The verdict is still out on whether Cousins’ attitude can change and how much of that even has to do with environment/other people. He is only 22, so obviously he has some time to mature. He is friends with John Wall, but he is also friends with players on the Kings like Chuck Hayes and Isaiah Thomas. He has a lot of respect for both of them and yet they have been unable to change his course. Another aspect to this is the fact that losing is the main thing Cousins references when asked about his flare-ups. He hates nothing more than to lose. Moving him to the Wizards in no way shape or form means he is going to win more and as a result, behave better.
BM: How do you personally view DeMarcus Cousins? Is he as important to the franchise as advertised, or is he an expendable asset? Where do you see Cousins amongst other big men in the future?
BE: Cousins is a guy who hasn’t adapted to NBA life very well. He has never had a father figure in his life and has an issue with authority. It took Ron Artest a long time to figure out how to behave and contribute positively to an NBA team and it’s going to take Cousins just as long. He is important to the Kings because he is the centerpiece. He is the most talented player on the roster and if they expect to turn things around with the players they currently have, Cousins’ talent is the best way to do that. Minus his “issues,” Cousins is already a top 5 center in the NBA. He has the potential to be the best in the future, but only he controls that.
Once again, I want to thank Blake Ellington for answering my questions regarding DeMarcus Cousins. It seems as if Blake, as well as his colleagues, are pretty adamant about keeping Cousins on the Kings roster. Although a trade for Cousins is still possible, it doesn’t seem as if anything will happen in the near future.
I hope I helped shed light on some of your questions, regarding DeMarcus Cousins and the Washington Wizards. Although I’m a huge supporter of the ‘DMC to D.C’ campaign, it doesn’t look like it’s happening anytime soon.