Scotto: Celtics, Heat and Bulls Lining Up for DeMarcus Cousins

Michael Scotto Sacramento Kings All-Star center DeMarcus Cousins has drawn significant trade interest from the Boston Celtics, Miami Heat and Chicago Bulls, league sources tell SheridanHoops.

Sacramento is listening, but the Kings are in a holding pattern and currently have no plans to make a deal despite sitting in 13th place in the 15-team Western Conference, the sources said.

But should owner Vivek Ranadive, general manager Vlade Divac and coach George Karl decide to change course, they have been made acutely aware what is available from the Celtics, Heat and Bulls.

And if Cousins stays put in Sacramento, do not discount the possibility of Miami and Houston swapping centers, Dwight Howard going to the Heat and Hassan Whiteside going to Houston, our publisher, Chris Sheridan, is reporting. (More on that in the video below).

Celtics general manager Danny Ainge has long been enamored with Cousins, and he has a plethora of draft picks – including Brooklyn’s unprotected 2016 and 2018 first-round picks – plus young assets (Kelly Olynyk, Jared Sullinger, Marcus Smart, etc.) and the expiring contract of David Lee to make a deal happen. This is a similar formula Ainge used in the past to acquire Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen.

Cousins1Heat president Pat Riley and the organization are no strangers to getting the most out of talented but troubled players. Hassan Whiteside, the latest reclamation project for Miami, and rookie Justise Winslow would be the centerpieces of any trade proposal, along additional players who would be added to make the salaries match.

Why would Miami consider parting with Whiteside, the league’s top shot blocker?

Look no further than this upcoming summer when Whiteside will become one of the league’s top free agents.

Because of NBA rules, there is almost no way the Heat can keep him.

After originally signing a two-year deal with Miami, Whiteside falls short of full Bird Rights. As a result, the only way Whiteside can be signed without regard to the salary cap is by accepting a minimum salary or the Early Bird average salary of $8 million as Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel has noted. Neither of those scenarios is plausible since Whiteside will command close to max money on the open market due to his current play and the dearth of available young centers.

It would be ironic to say the least if Whiteside were traded to the Kings after Sacramento selected both him and Cousins in the 2010 draft.

As for Chicago, the Bulls are loaded with expendable frontcourt talent. Joakim Noah’s $13.4 million expiring contract and Taj Gibson are available, along with a young asset or draft pick. With former first-round pick Bobby Portis stuck behind a crowded frontcourt, Chicago is looking to clear a path for him to play more, one source said.

DeMarcus CousinsAnd if there is a chance to get their hands on the guy I have named the best center in basketball, the Bulls, Celtics and Heat are willing to do it.

Today is Dec. 15, the date that players (including most rookies) who signed over the summer become eligible to be traded – including Josh Smith, Marcus Thornton, Brandon Bass and Omer Asik. Expect even more rumblings throughout the league before the trade deadline in mid-February.

Smith already has been rumored to be on the block. Thornton’s Rockets are looking to make a deal and the whole team – minus James Harden – is available for the right price.

Bass is the type of veteran role player who can help a playoff team off the bench. In 16 minutes per game, Bass has shot 56 percent from the field and averaged 5.6 points and 4.3 rebounds. With the Lakers rebuilding and out of the playoff hunt, trading Bass to a contender before the deadline makes sense for both sides. With most contenders over the cap, Bass’ $3 million salary makes it easier to match in a trade scenario. As for Asik, league sources say the Pelicans have made him available after signing him to a five-year, $52 million deal this past summer.

If your team is looking for a big man that could provide a lift off the bench, Trail Blazers center Chris Kaman and Timberwolves forward Adreian Payne are available on the trade market as well, league sources said.

Keep an eye on another center, Nikola Pekovic, as trade talks pick up around the league heading into the new calendar year. The Timberwolves have Karl-Anthony Towns anchoring the pivot, and with Gorgui Dieng behind him, there won’t be a lot of minutes available whenever Pekovic returns from ankle surgery.

With that in mind, here are five trade candidates whose names you will also hear mentioned as bait before the trade deadline:

Markieff Morris1. Markieff Morris, Suns, 6-10, 245 pounds, 4 years: Morris wanted a trade over the summer and may finally get his wish. After falling out of the rotation in favor of Jon Leuer and Mirza Teletovic, Morris has played only seven minutes over the last five games. What makes Morris the most attractive trade candidate is his four-year, $32 million contract – an incredible bargain when his head is on straight and with the looming salary cap rise toward the expected $90 million range. At 26, Morris was coming off his best season a year ago and hasn’t yet hit his prime. Phoenix has discussed a deal with Houston for Corey Brewer and Terrence Jones, one source said.

Ryan Anderson2. Ryan Anderson, Pelicans, 6-10, 240, 7 years: Anderson is in the final year of his contract at $8.5 million. The best stretch-4 on the market, Anderson’s name has been mentioned previously over the years as a trade chip. The difference in this case is the struggling Pelicans could look to totally rebuild and get as many assets as possible for Anderson, who may command nearly double his salary on the open market this summer. With Anthony Davis effective in the mid-range game and further developing his 3-point shot, having a stretch forward next to him isn’t a dire need, which makes Anderson expendable.

Jamal Crawford3. Jamal Crawford, Clippers, 6-5, 195, 15 years: Crawford was shopped by the Clippers over the summer and was back on the block less than a week ago, as I previously reported. In the final season of his deal with $5.7 million owed, Crawford is the type of bench scorer who – at least in theory – can help a contender get past Golden State and Cleveland in each conference. With Lance Stephenson, Josh Smith and Paul Pierce all looking for shots, something has to give for the Clippers. There simply aren’t enough basketballs to go around.

Donatas Motiejunas4. Donatas Motiejunas, Rockets, 7-0, 222, 3 years: Entering restricted free agency this summer, Motiejunas has been dangled as trade bait. As I previously reported, Motiejunas and Terrence Jones were dangled with the hope of making a blockbuster deal to save the season for Houston. Rockets general manager Daryl Morey knows the time to win is now with Dwight Howard in a contract season and James Harden in his prime. Sacrificing Motiejunas – who becomes a restricted free agent this summer – to add a piece to help Houston win now is a price Morey is willing to pay.

Kevin Martin5. Kevin Martin, Timberwolves, 6-7, 199, 11 years: At 32, Martin has struggled since being inserted into the starting lineup, shooting 39 percent from the field. On a rebuilding team looking to develop Zach LaVine, Andrew Wiggins and Shabazz Muhammad, every minute for Martin takes away valuable playing time from a youngster. Martin has a $7.4 million player option next summer and will be gunning for his own stats in a contract season. Teams are always looking for shooters, and Martin has been a 39 percent 3-point shooter over the course of his career.



Michael Scotto is an NBA columnist for Follow him on Twitter: @MikeAScotto.


  1. John says

    What another pointless article about a trade that will never happen. Get something else to write about. There’s not a single player on any of those teams that is even close to being on par with the best big man in the game, and for the thousandth time COUSINS WILL NOT BE TRADED so stop dreaming.

  2. trk says

    @Scoe63, the bulls don’t have chemistry issues. If anything trading their most consistent and defensive player would greatly hurt the chemistry lol. Doesn’t make any sense.

  3. Scoe63 says

    Kings trade…

    Demarcus Cousins
    Ben McLemore

    Bulls trade…

    Jimmy Butler
    Pau Gasol
    Renounce rights to Sacramento’s protected pick
    Bulls 2016 first round pick.

    This solves the Bulls chemistry issue with the starting unit and Hoiball officially begins.

    Sacramento becomes a playoff team with a bright future.

  4. Andrew C says

    Sacramento trade:
    Demarcus Cousins, Caron butler and omri cassipi
    Miami trade:
    Hassan whiteside, luol Deng and trade exception and a first round pick


  5. Markie Str88 Up says

    Please Don’t trade away Big Cousins!!! Trade D.C., or Rudy Gay, but Cousin Stays… D.C. is a ball hog and doesn’t pass enough, Rudy only plays isolation basketball, and the Kings can get a good trade value for D.C. or Rudy Gay, and plus this would allow Seth Curry & Ben Mac to blossom more… Str88 Up

  6. Keith says

    You’ve gotta be kidding me, this again? The heat can offer the league average without it counting against the cap, they will have plenty of cap space to offer whiteside, assuming he continues to grow. Here’s another #logic tag for your publisher: if D12 is crying about playing 2nd fiddle to harden, how is going to feel about being 3rd or possibly 4th fiddle in Miami? Whiteside and Howard are both hard headed with limited offensive moves and bad ft shooters, the difference is one is younger and healthier. Find some new clickbait

    • Mike S. says

      Howard is THE most overrated center in NBA history. No coincidence he was ‘unhappy’ in Orlando, LA, now in Houston. Makr my words, this stiff will NEVER, EVER win a ring.

  7. E.J says

    The Kings Brass can’t control Cousins, he is a loose cannon, but his Skill set is without question one of the Best in the Association. He needs a Strong, Organization, that he Respects….. And he has to have Veterans who have WON MULTIPLE TIMES ON THE ULTIMATE STAGE ( AND HAS WON RECENTLY) So I think he will Land in Miami….

  8. Debbin Abraham sr says

    Cousin isn’t a headache. Dwight Howard is the headache. Every team he plays on he’s not happy and asked for a trade. He ain’t shit

  9. Michael says

    I’m from boston live less then 5 minutes from the garden I don’t want cousins he’s a headache and a coach killer how many have they gone through we have an awesome young coach I rather keep a young coach that’s making average players better then have cousins come destroy many ham

  10. Maceo says

    I feel like it would be a dumb idea to trade Cousins. However, if they do, he would fit in nicely with two of the teams that want him. The Celtics could use him instead of Zeller at the 5 and could use him to play with Sullinger. The Heat could also use him to play with Whiteside or give the Heat a spark off the bench. I feel like if he moves he will come to Boston. Can’t wait to see how it pans out.

  11. Chris says

    Mike The Queens would be stupid if they didn’t trade cousins! The dude is awesome but he’s so mentally weak! Bulls fan here, we won’t be able to get him!!! No1 wants are broken pieces! I can see Bos as his only landing spot. But they are a bad organization so don’t worry Mike he’ll stay

  12. Chris says

    Dave If u look up booby portis in yahoo Fantasy sports or probably rotoworld it says that the bulls are trying to free up room for portis! Ha-ha these guys are just piggybacking off of other peoples breaking stories

  13. dave says

    Wow the Kings were “ready to trade Cousins to the Lakers, and the Lakers didn’t make the call???”

    What Sheridan? Just lost all credibility with me and i’m dropping you on twitter. You’ve been out of the major media game too long and you have no major / “real” sources left


  1. […] Sacramento Kings star big man DeMarcus Cousins has been the subject of recent trade rumors. He has a reputation for being somewhat of a head case but there's no denying his overall talent and the energy he bring night in and night out. To pull off the trade, the Bulls would likely have to include Noah's expiring contract along with either Taj Gibson, Nikola Mirotic and a first round draft pick or two. […]

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