We have heard whole summer how Lakers want a great center. Cousins, Whiteside, Gasol, all those names were the Lakers GM plans. But, how life never gives us what we want, the same happened to the Lakers. The first signing that is done this summer Free Agency is Timofey Mozgov's. He signed with the Lakers a 4-year deal, worth $64M. $16M per year.
Little too much, but we got used to it in a couple of days. So, the first center is Mozgov. If you ask me, not good enough if you want to build a quality team. But, in the last days, there is one rumor that has been active since the beginning of time. DeMarcus Cousins in Los Angeles Lakers! Is it real, what it needs to happen and at last is it good?
Vlade Divac, Kings GM, said a couple of times that he wants to trade only Ben McLemore, Kosta Koufos and Rudy Gay. But, he also said that he wants to test the market in Cousins case. Which means that this trade is real, but for an adequate offer. Can Lakers offer something thrilling and convince Divac to get rid of DeMarcus Cousins?
Absolutely yes. They have a ton of excellent, young and talented players. I see a package of D'Angelo Russel, Julius Randle and some pick or rookie drafted this year as appropriate and sufficient. Maybe Caris LeVert or Ivica Zubac? It's an open secret that relationship between Cousins and Divac isn't on the fine level. So, this can be a great chance for them to part ways.
Russell will be a great PG for Kings, covering Rondo's departure and possible McLemore trade. Darren Collison is ok, but not a high-class. Also with Randle and another player you can cover some position, but PG is most crucial for the Kings to fill. With this trade they will lose a top center, maybe the best in the league, but he isn't the guy you can build a team around. Not a team player, very emotional and violent guy, fighting with the teammates, coach, opponents.
Russell can be a great basis for future years of the franchise. But, Russell is an excellent player, maybe top 5 in the future and Lakers will not give him easily. After great performances in the NBA Summer League, he proved that he grew up and that he is a player that you can rely on.
It depends on Mitch Kupchak and his vision of Lakers in next years. Does he want instant success or a slower passing through a rebuilding phase? This young core that Lakers have need time. They will be great for sure, but time is their ally. Adding some experienced player can be a better decision for them if the Lakers are preparing for the marathon. That is longer and more arduous way, but they can last longer if they choose it.
My opinion is that this trade can happen because Lakers always showed interests into Cousins, and on the other side Kings are very interested in Russell, so the agreement point is very close. But with this offer I thought about, I think is too much for the Lakers looking on the long run. Instantly it's ok, but no one can guarantee you success. We can't guarantee a title for the superteam from Oakland, how can we do that for a young family with great tradition from the LA?