It’s not a new thing for Celtics fans, myself absolutely included, to be excited about the possibility of trading for Boogie Cousins. That being said, I wasn’t 100% sold on Boogie because of the immature ways he sometimes acts and his issues with coaches, as well as the price that it would take to acquire him.
Not anymore. Now I’m all in with my desire for Danny Ainge to trade for Cousins. If you stayed up to watch the end of the Kings-Mavericks Double OT thriller, you’d know why.
Cousins’ stat line paints a very good picture. He tallied 35 points on 15-30 shooting, 17 rebounds, 4 assists, 6 steals, and 10 turnovers in 49 minutes on the court out of the 58 that his team played that night. But the stats don’t paint the whole picture. In the overtimes, the Rondo-less Kings had zero options other than Boogie or a long, off balance, 2 point jumper from Darren Collison or Rudy Gay. I was watching the game on League Pass with the Dallas announcers, and they were terrified of Cousins. He pulled down every big rebound, some of them with one hand while he was boxing someone out with the other. The offense was a force when it ran through him, and it was stagnant when it didn’t.
Seeing what Cousins could do against a strong team on their home court proved to me that his tremendous ability outweigh the negative intangibles. The 10 turnovers worry me, but I doubt the number would be that high if he was on the Celtics with a more dynamic offense and other capable options on the floor. During his career, Cousins has had a run-in with a coach or 5, but I have to believe that he’ll be a better soldier as he reaches his late twenties and is part of an organization that actually functions like, you know, and organization.
And there’s another intangible that actually works in his favor. The Mavericks were complaining to the refs throughout the later part of the game about the calls that Cousins was getting offensively and what he was getting away with defensively. As much as we hate that this is the case, whether or not your superstar gets superstar calls is a big difference maker. Cousins gets those calls, and he’d probably get more if he was out of an environment where he’s known for being tough to deal with.
Stats are awesome, and advanced stats are even more awesome. But watching a guy play is still a necessary way to learn about him. When you’re determining whether or not a player is a possible alpha dog on your team, that’s an instance where the seeing eye test is invaluable. And I don’t know, but something with Cousins just clicked for me on Tuesday night. Only 24 hours after knocking the Thunder in OKC with another ridiculous stat line (33 points, 19 rebounds, only 1 turnover), Cousins was putting the fear of God into the Mavericks. He’s the guy that I want as the centerpiece of the Celtics going forward.
Now, what do the Celtics trade for Boogie? That’s a big question, but it may not be the big question. More importantly, when will they be able to pry Boogie out of Sacramento? In my opinion, anyone, whether in the media or just a knowledgeable fan, who thinks that Boogie will be gone before this summer at the earliest is fooling themselves. We can’t hold out for Cousins at the trade deadline, not when the owner has shown that he is attached to Boogie. He rewarded Boogie with a new extension right after buying the team and at a time when Boogie was showing a lot of immaturity, and he knows how great of an asset that Cousins is.
Even this summer is probably pushing it. The Kings move into a new arena next fall, and would it really go over well with the fans if they open the new arena with Rudy Gay or Willie Cauley-Stein as the guy on the billboards in Sacramento? Somehow, I doubt that’ll go over well.
Cousins’ contract runs out in 2018, and I’d target the 2017 trade deadline or summer as the 2 most likely times for Cousins to be traded. By March of next year, the price for Cousins will be astronomical given that tons of teams will have missed out on free agents with all their cap space in the summer of 2016 and given Boogie’s reasonable deal. Having said that, the C’s will still be in the lead in terms of assets. They’ll have whoever they select in the top 5 next year with the Nets’ pick, as well as their own pick and the Mavs’ pick which should both be around #20. They’ll also have the pick swap from the Nets and another 1st rounder from Minnsota in 2017, and the Nets pick again in 2018 (HAHAHAHAHA Nets) and a future pick from Memphis.
The C’s will have to trade at least 1 of the Brooklyn picks without a doubt, but I’d try as hard as I could not to trade Marcus Smart. Smart and Cousins seem like they were destined to play together with their ferociousness and competitiveness on the floor. For that matter, Avery Bradley and Jae Crowder fit perfectly with Boogie as well, and the trio amazing defensive players on spectacular contracts with Smart, Bradley, and Crowder is a combination that should be kept together as long as possible.
Yes, with the exception of Kelly Olynyk and the rookies, I did just cut out about every Celtics roster player who could be an asset for Boogie in 2017. And the Kings would need a lot to pry Boogie out of NorCal. That’s why I’ve decided tonight that the C’s should throw in 2 of the Brooklyn picks if that’s what it takes to get DeMarcus Cousins. Let’s say that the hypothetical trade would happen in March of 2017. At that point, I’d trade 2 of the 3 Nets draft picks or draftees between 2016 and 2018, and then a few other young guys who will have hopefully stepped up their game by 2017. James Young and Terry Rozier should be nice chips by then.
Obviously, the Celtics’ roster will change dramatically by then given that Trader Danny is their GM. But for the hell of it, let’s say that the Celtics trade for DeMarcus Cousins at the 2017 trade deadline with a package of their recent 2016 Top 5 draft pick, the Nets 2018 1st round pick, the Timberwolves 1st round pick, James Young, and Terry Rozier. That’s a steep price for a single guy, but I’ve learned that DeMarcus Cousins is worth it. There aren’t many guys like him in the league, and you gotta get a true superstar when you can. That’s why Danny Ainge has collected so many assets, after all.