As if draft-day speculation isn’t enough fuel for the rumor wire, the reported trade talks between the Kings and Los Angeles Lakers involving All-Star center DeMarcus Cousins have taken it to another level. The Kings, meanwhile, have refuted the reports.
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▪ Follow the Bee’s Ailene Voisin and Jason Jones on Twitter for the latest updates on the draft and trade rumors. Voisin tweets that she’s hearing there is no talk of firing coach George Karl. ESPN’s Chris Broussard reports that Kings principal owner Vivek Ranadive has considered it.
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▪ Bleacher Report columnist Zach Buckley presents three trade packages that could pull Cousins from the Kings, offering the Lakers scenario as well as ones that send him to the Boston Celtics and Denver Nuggets. Buckley writes: “This point on the NBA calendar is typically filled with trade smoke, and it isn’t always easy to see through it and find the truth. But there is so much of it surrounding this specific player, it’s hard not to think there’s some fire at its source.”
▪ Voisin’s take on the Cousins rumors: “Franchises held hostage by players or agents are doomed to failure. In or out? Cousins has to make up his mind, and he can’t be coy. No whispers, no tweeting, no cryptic messages. No more hiding behind his agents or his buddies or others ‘in his camp.’”
▪ Cousins responded to a fan on Twitter late Wednesday, when he was asked if he wanted to be in Sacramento, referencing the recent drama. “Absolutely,” Cousins replied.
▪ The Bee’s Jason Jones reports that mystery man Emmanuel Mudiay could be quickly swept up by the Kings if he falls to No. 6. Jones also listed six other options for the Kings’ top pick, and you can view his first-round mock draft.
▪ Yahoo! Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski tweets that the Kings are shopping around their sixth pick, looking to move down. He also links them to Mario Hezonja, a 6-foot-8 play-making wing from Croatia.
▪ And then there’s Deadspin’s Barry Petchesky, who believes the Kings are doomed no matter what happens with Cousins. If he stays? “Cousins is every bit as capable of holding a grudge as (Kings coach George) Karl, and it’s easy to see him taking it nice and easy in practice and on the court until the Kings are eventually forced to trade him at even further below market value.”