Three Eastern Conference Finals appearances within the last five seasons for the Celtics was the foreseeable stepping stone for a 17th NBA championship. However…
Boston Celtics general manager Danny Ainge has made it clear the Celtics are planning to target “anybody and everybody” this NBA off-season, and reports are circling that Sacramento Kings centre DeMarcus Cousins is near the top of the wishlist.
ESPN’s Marc Stein noted the difficulty that the Celtics have had in the past in luring marquee free agents, and reported that the Celtics’ best chances of acquiring a star are through a trade.
The C’s are reportedly prepared to open their war chest of draft picks in exchange for the services of 2015 All-Star Cousins.
According to Stein, “Will they [Boston] open their war chest of future draft picks to try to pry DeMarcus Cousins away from Sacramento via trade? The early word out there is: Bank on it.”
The acquisition of Cousins would satisfy one of Boston’s most glaring needs: a reliable low-post scorer.
The Celtics struggled mightily in the first round with interior scoring, as no member of Boston’s big man quartet of Kelly Olynyk, Jared Sullinger, Brandon Bass or Tyler Zeller averaged more than 12 points a game. Although the Celtics foursome shot at a combined 50 per cent in the Cavaliers series, the lack of a go-to scorer inside hurt the Celtics’ chances of advancing severely, as Boston hinged their offensive production on the back of the mercurial Isiah Thomas.
Although Thomas undoubtedly had his moments during the series, when Boston’s instant ball of offensive energy failed to fire, so did the Celtics. If the Celtics managed to lure ‘Boogie’ Cousins to Beantown, not only would he give Boston realistic hope of attaining home-court advantage and a top-four seed in the East, he would also be the polish to what is a reasonably oiled machine.
Brad Stevens’ Celtics are a hard-working, over-achieving squad of supplementary players with a few potential gems in a team that is otherwise reliant on excellent coaching and outworking the opposition to accumulate wins. Cousins would be the centrepiece of the offence and a player that Boston could continue to build around in the future as the face of the franchise.
What’s in it for Cousins? He’d be one of the key pieces to what has proven to be a resilient and capable Boston team. With just two years left on his contract and with no signs of the Oklahoma City Thunder or the New Orleans Pelicans disappearing, the likelihood of playoff basketball looks unlikely for the Kings, which makes their chances of retaining a 25 and 12 DeMarcus Cousins also unlikely.
Whether it be Boston or elsewhere, Cousins does not seem like the type to be content with perennial mediocrity and nor should he be. He is one of the most polished and talented centres we’ve seen this decade, and he should be playing NBA basketball in mid-April.
Boston’s best chance of ascending back into NBA relevancy is by acquiring a premier NBA talent and they certainly don’t come any more talented than Cousins.
With 11 first rounders in the next five drafts, including four 2016 first rounders, the Celtics have the necessary assets to produce an enticing trade package for Cousins. The question is, are the Kings willing to part ways with their only All-Star? Odds are probably not, as owner Vivek Ranadive and general manager Peter D’Alessandro seem more concerned with making the biggest splash than making the wisest moves.
But if the Kings feel like their prized centre might walk for nothing, expect Boston to be eagerly waiting in the wings.