The Los Angeles Lakers are one of the most prestigious teams, not just in basketball, but all sports. The Lakers are a team that is used to contending and competing for championships. Lately, that has not been the case in LA, something the fans aren’t used to. One player in particular isn’t pleased with how the Lakers haven’t fared the past two seasons. That player: Kobe Bryant. The soon-to-be 37-year-old will be returning this season after departing from the past three with injuries. The Lakers have a lot of money invested in Bryant and that could handcuff them on potential moves they make. One move the Lakers have been reported in wanting to make is a trade that would land them big man DeMarcus Cousins from the Sacramento Kings.
The Kings involvement in this is still unknown as Head Coach George Karl is reportedly wanting to trade Cousins, yet the upper management in Sacramento does not want to part ways with the up-and-coming center. Now what the Kings ultimately decide to do is still anyone’s guess. The relationship between Karl and Cousins doesn’t look like it will co-exist, but that remains to be seen.
As for the Lakers, there are pros and cons with going after Cousins and here they are:
Pro: Kobe Bryant would get some much-needed help
Kobe Bryant’s career is winding down, with rumors and speculation running wild on whether or not this upcoming season will be the last for the future Hall of Famer. Bryant is all about winning, and the past few seasons from the Lakers have not seen much of the winning side of things. With the addition of Cousins, Kobe would have a reliable guy to feed the ball into the post. Cousins is coming off his best season of his young career, as he averaged career bests in points (24.1 PPG) and rebounds (12.7 RPG). He averages 18.9 and 10.6 for his career. This would take pressure off Bryant, who nobody knows how he will play after yet another injury. You can bet on one thing though; Kobe Bryant will compete for a championship until he can no longer go. Cousins could possibly be the big man LA coveted in Dwight Howard, but the way Cousins develops over the long haul from both a playing standpoint and a maturity standpoint will determine that if the deal goes down.
Con: The large contract of DeMarcus Cousins
Cousins will be entering the second of a four-year deal worth $65 million this upcoming season. If the Lakers do in fact land Cousins, they will absorb the bulk of that contract, making any free agent move nearly impossible. There are some top free agents the Lakers will no doubt be eyeing up this summer, but the potential addition of Cousins could hamper that. Along with Cousins’ large contract, the Lakers would also have the huge contract of Bryant. Will the Lakers sabotage their chances of landing a top free agent in order to land one of the league’s rising big men? That answer to that question will likely be decided upon in the coming days.
Pro: Cousins will be paired with Julius Randle, who is essentially a rookie
The future of the Lakers post Kobe is yet to be determined. If the Lakers do in fact trade for Cousins, he will be paired with Julius (being he doesn’t get dealt in a potential deal) Randle, who missed all of last season with a knee injury. The Lakers could focus their attention around the two young, talented big men, then address the next move after that. Randle hasn’t had the opportunity to prove himself in the league yet, but given time and the fact he needs to be recovered, he can be a great piece for the Lakers. Both big men are young and could become a force to be reckon with down in the paint.
Con: The attitude and maturity issues of Cousins
Cousins is one of the most gifted big men to play the game today, there is no denying that. The thing that isn’t so apparent is whether or not Cousins can grow up and mature, both on and off the court. He has had maturity issues in the past, giving reporters plenty to write about and discuss. He has had issues barking at the refs in the past and has even gotten aggressive with TV commentators. He has shown improvements with his maturity, but there is always a chance he could go off on someone. The Lakers need a cornerstone for their franchise going forward with Bryant’s career reaching the twilight. If Cousins can prove he can overcome his maturity and attitude issues, he will be a great centerpiece for the Lakers. If not, if the Lakers don’t decide to roll the dice on Cousins, then Cousins’ career will continue in Sacramento or elsewhere.
Con(solation): The options of the Lakers is nice
If the Lakers decide not to trade a boatload for the services of Cousins, they will still be in a good shape. They possess the No. 2 overall pick in Thursday’s draft and can go a variety of different ways. The most coveted players in this year’s draft are big men Jahlil Okafor and Karl-Anthony Towns along with guard D’Angelo Russell. The Lakers also have a ton of cap room to get one of the free agents which include LaMarcus Aldridge, Marc Gasol and Kevin Love. You can match any of those big men up with Randle or whoever the Lakers draft, should they go with a big man. If they take Russell, he can be mentored by Kobe and be the next guy to be a star in LA. The Lakers have options to play with and will want to get the most out of their investment(s). For the sake of the fan base, Los Angeles is in a need-to-win sooner rather than later mentality. It has only been six seasons since the Lakers last won a championship, but for the fans, that’s six years too long.
So will the Lakers go all-in to land DeMarcus Cousins or will they invest in a lot more? Time surely will tell.
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