By: Florian Gheorghe
Despite Golden State Warriors’ winning ways –playing small and not relying on post-up players – the NBA’s big men remain the top attraction in the overcrowded free agency market.
Sacramento Kings’ All-Star DeMarcus Cousins is surprisingly one of them. Why surprisingly? Because nobody thought Sac-Town could possibly part ways with basically the face of the franchise. Yet they are on the verge of doing so according to several reports. It seems coach George Karl isn’t a Cousins fan and his plans don’t revolve around the gifted big man. The negotiations have already started with the Los Angeles Lakers in the mix. The Lakers want to give Kobe Bryant a chance to compete for a championship one more time and Cousins – along with maybe Rajon Rondo – could do the trick. The trade however isn’t sealed yet; the Kings aren’t willing to get rid of Boogie cheaply according to Yahoo Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski. They want Lakers’ No. 2 Draft pick plus Julius Randle and Jordan Clarkson. Most likely, GM Mitch Kupchak won’t agree and if Sacramento doesn’t give in, he will look elsewhere.
In Oregon for example where LaMarcus Aldridge already packs his bags for his next destination. The Portland Trail Blazers’ big man will become an unrestricted free agent on July 1 and the possibility to re-sign is rather slim. Even the Blazers know that and they are already preparing for the rebuilding mode: they traded Nicolas Batum on Wednesday to Charlotte for Gerald Henderson and 2014 ninth pick Noah Vonleh.
Besides Los Angeles, Aldridge could end up in Texas, in San Antonio or Dallas. The Spurs can assure the big man that he will have a chance to compete for the Larry O’Brien trophy while Dallas is his hometown.
If LA chooses Texas, the Lakers still have some backup plans. They could target Kevin Love who reportedly will opt out of his last year with the Cleveland Cavaliers, according to the Associated Press. Of course, this doesn’t mean he will leave Ohio; he could come back signing a one-year deal and giving his team financial flexibility for next season. He said time and time again that he would like to continue what he has started in Cleveland. But if he eventually decides to leave the Cavs could do a sign-and-trade either with the Lakers or the Knicks and Celtics, the other two teams interested in adding (some) Love.
The Knicks are desperately trying to revamp the roster after a disastrous season and will eye every big free agent in the market, including Love and Aldridge. They could also try to lure Grizzlies Marc Gasol to the Big Apple and start from there. Gasol will be a free agent this summer but he’s likely to re-sign with Memphis, basically his second home after Spain. If he doesn’t, he could choose New York or San Antonio, the other NBA team interested in him.
Can the Knicks turn it around?