Remember earlier this year when the Boston Celtics and Sacramento Kings were discussing a potential deal that would have sent Demarcus Cousins to Beantown? Well what if I told you that there could be a way to actually acquire the disgruntled big man?
Before I go any further, let me clarify that there isn't a single rumor going around that the two franchise's are starting anew with their negotiations. This is simply a "what if" scenario that I came up with on my own using the ESPN Trade Machine. It just so happens that it works and not only does it work but it works in both team's favor.
Now that you've read the "disclaimer," let's begin.
In order for this to work, the Celtics would have to send Kris Humphries and draft considerations to Sacramento in exchange for Demarcus Cousins, Jimmer Fredette, and Isaiah Thomas. Now what those draft considerations may be, I'm not sure. However, realistically I would say that it would take any one of these three packages:
- One future first round pick
- Two future first round picks
- One future first round pick and one future second round pick
Ultimately the extent of the draft pick compensation would have to be something the two organizations agreed upon, it's not something that you can feasibly predict. But at the same time the Kings would never consider letting these three players go in exchange for just one expiring contract in Kris Humphries.
How it Works in Terms of Salary
In this trade scenario, the Kings would acquire $12,000,000 of salary that is owed to Kris Humphries, a sum that they would be capable of taking on if they were to ship out that specific group of players.
The Celtics would then be responsible for the $4,916,973 owed to Cousins in 2013-14, the $884,293 owed to Thomas in 2013-14, and the $5,550,636 owed to Fredette over the next two years. The good news is that the three players will collectively earn $8,241,106 this upcoming season which means Danny Ainge could use the $10.3 million trade exception he acquired in the Brooklyn Nets deal to pay for these guys' respective salaries.
Why it Favors the Kings
If Sacramento agreed to let go of their young, up-and-coming big man they would instantly need to find a new piece to build their team around. However, both Grievis Vasquez, 26, and Ben McLemore, 20, would be left over to comprise a tandem of young guards that the Kings management could then place other vital pieces around, either via the draft (using a draft pick or two acquired in this deal along with their own), free agency, or trade.
Since they could probably pry away a 2014 first round draft pick from the Celtics, the franchise would be able to use that to add another young, potential star to their roster. And seeing as the 2014 Draft Class is one of the deepest in recent memory, the chances of the Kings acquiring an extremely talented player are very good.
Free agency is another route they could explore. After the trade, Sacramento would only have $45,296,588 in guaranteed money on their books for the 2014-15 season. With marquee players set to hit the free agency market, they would be capable of offering a top-tier talent max dollars. And even after that kind of massive deal, they would still be safe adding a five to seven million dollar player. Of course, Sacramento wouldn't have to worry about picking up both Thomas' and Cousins' options because the duo would no longer be their problem. What's more, they would be able to retain Patrick Peterson, a restricted free agent in the summer of 2014, and still have ample cap space. Or they could decide to let him walk and clear off another $4+ million off of their books.
Finally, another trade might be enough to net them another big time player. Dangling Humphries' $12 million dollar expiring contract as bait may garner a lot more interest than you might think. Add a future draft pick, maybe force another player or two into the deal and the Kings have themselves a nice little return package to aid their rebuilding efforts.
Why it Favors the Celtics
First of all, Demarcus Cousins. Second of all, Demarcus Cousins. And third of all... Well you get the idea.
Pairing Cousins with Rajon Rondo would spell trouble for opponents. The pair could potentially become one of the most feared pick-and-roll tandems in the Association. Rondo's ability to attack off the dribble would cause a hard hedge, leaving Cousins a wide open lane to the basket or a good look at a mid-range jumper.
I know what you're thinking: "How can we expect two head cases to coexist on the same basketball court?"
I guess we can't to be perfectly honest but I think the risk is more than worth taking.
Even though the Celtics would have $61,210,799 on the ledger for 2014-15 -- that's without picking up Cousins' option or re-signing him -- the Celtics would be in a prime position to retain the big man if all went well in year one of this experiment. They could either convince him to accept the $6.5 million qualifying offer and sign him for big dollars before the 2015-16 season began or they could sign him to a deal that pays about nine to ten million dollars a year.
In addition to the dynamic duo, the Celtics would be receiving an offensively versatile guard in Fredette that would provide a spark off the bench. While the former BYU stand out wouldn't be able to offer much on the defensive end of the ball, Boston has plenty of options they could potentially go to in order to make up for his inept defensive abilities.
Just like the Kings, though, they don't necessarily have to keep whatever they acquire in this imaginary deal. They could always package Fredette in a trade in exchange for a draft pick or two. Perhaps Brandon Bass and Fredette would be appropriate compensation for a draft considerations.
But no matter what they did with Thomas and Fredette, the important thing would be that they would have acquired Cousins and would also be able to retain him. Think about a line-up that featured Rondo, Avery Bradley, Jeff Green, Jared Sullinger, and Cousins. Then think of a reserve unit consisting of Kelly Olynyk, Fredette, Brooks, Wallace, etc.
Of course, another trade or two would be necessary in order for the Celtics to trim down to the maximum of 15 players on their roster.
But in my opinion, that team could contend for championships a couple of years down the road. Granted, the bench may need to be strengthened along the way but a potential line-up comprised of those players supply me with nothing but good vibes.