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Kings forward DeMarcus Cousins is coming off a career year in which he was named an NBA All-Star. The Alabama native is arguably the best big man in the game, but according to several reports George Karl is not too high on him and is actually pushing for a trade.
Some of the rumored landing spots for Cousins are the Los Angeles Lakers and the Denver Nuggets. We’re hearing that Karl wants to trade the 24-year old for Ty Lawson and Kenneth Faried. Via USA Today:
Karl has been recruiting Kings vice president of basketball operations Vlade Divac and multiple players on the Kings’ roster to unite with him in making the case to owner Vivek Ranadive that Cousins needs to be traded, league sources said.
Since the end of the 2014-15 season, Cousins has become aware of Karl’s campaign to move him – including teammates telling Cousins, sources said. All around the Kings and Cousins, there is a growing belief the coach-player relationship is irreparable. Trust is a constant theme with Cousins, and he’s been unable to build any with Karl, sources said.
Ranadive has remained the biggest Kings advocate for holding onto Cousins, and several sources indicate he has become irritated with Karl’s insistence that the coach doesn’t believe he can manage the supremely skilled and strong-minded star. Cousins has held a firm loyalty to former Kings coach Michael Malone, whom Ranadive fired shortly into last season. Under Karl, that relationship couldn’t begin to be duplicated in the final weeks of the season.
“We have zero interest in moving Cousins, so I don’t know where that’s coming from,” Ranadive said when asked about an ESPN.com report in which a Kings-Los Angeles Lakers-Orlando Magic trade scenario was discussed. “But if you like, you should talk to (Kings vice president of basketball and franchise operations) Vlade (Divac), because I know Vlade feels exactly the same way. And I’m deferring to Vlade on everything. We have no interest in moving him. From my perspective, it’s really simple: we feel that he’s a one-of-a-kind player, and we have a group of players right now and we’re going to build on it.”