If the Bucks are ever going to get a star, he’ll probably have to be a problem. BRING ME DEMARCUS COUSINS.

If this is the most disgruntled looking photo I can find of him, how bad could he be? (Photo by Gary Dineen/NBAE via Getty Images)

Last week, DeMarcus Cousins brought the ruckus. Again. He was suspended by the Sacramento Kings after reportedly getting into a heated exchange with Kings head coach Keith Smart in the locker room during half time of Sacramento’s loss to the Los Angeles Clippers. It was the third time this season the ill-tempered Cousins was suspended.

Trade rumors began almost immediately. Would the Kings look to deal him? What would they want in return? Could the franchise really afford to give up a player who averaged a double-double only a season ago?

As a Milwaukee Bucks blogger, it’s almost too easy to go where I’m about to go, but I’ll do it anyway.

March 20, 2008. Larry Harris had been fired the day before. At the press conference announcing the move, Herb Kohl was asked about a potential trade that would have sent Bobby Simmons, Dan Gadzuric and Charlie Bell to the New York Knicks for Zach Randolph, at the time considered to be a productive player with great character risks, and Fred Jones.

“I don’t want to impugn him, because I’ve never met him,” Kohl said about Randolph, the Knicks power forward, who was obtained in a trade with Portland last summer. “Zach started out in Portland, and at the point they traded him, they really wanted to do that. He did not help them win.

“Then they traded him to New York, and within six months they wanted him out. They were prepared to trade him to the Bucks or anyone else. And he had three years, plus this year, remaining on his contract, which was over $50 million.

“Now any owner, I submit, who would not take an interest in that and would not want to be a part of that decision, is not doing his job. When it comes to decisions of that magnitude, the owner needs to be on board.”

Totally fair for Kohl to take an active role when it comes to that sort of money. That trade saw some big contracts heading out and a big contract heading in.  Money was redistributed from three players to one, largely. Perhaps Kohl felt Milwaukee could get safer players or not have to take on one huge contract when shipping out Milwaukee’s three dead weight salaries. Clearly he felt like New York looking to dump Randolph so quickly was a warning sign.

He obeyed the sign and stayed away.

Milwaukee would ship out Simmons months later along with Yi Jianlian in a deal for Richard Jefferson – a quality player and person, but certainly no Randolph in terms of either upside or production. Jefferson and Michael Redd created a potentially potent wing combination, but only played 33 games together (17-16 record) before Jefferson was moved again when Milwaukee missed out on the playoffs. Gadzuric and Bell would be moved years later for Corey Maggette, another potential solution on the wing who didn’t quite pan out.

Randolph was eventually traded to the Clippers 11 games into the 2008-09 season, where he played 39 games before being moved again to Memphis, where he’s settled in quite nicely with one All-Star game and two playoff appearances.

Could that have happened in Milwaukee? We’ll never know. It’s easy to find reasons why it wouldn’t have worked and it’s easy to find reasons why it would have. But Milwaukee didn’t take the shot. Instead, the Bucks and Senator Kohl went for the safer play. Jefferson averaged a career high 22 points per game in his final season with the Nets. He’d never had a run in with the law and he’d been a consistent player when healthy. He scored. He could make shots and attack the rim. He wasn’t much of a rebounder, defender or creator, but he was a fine player.

Randolph was more than a fine player in 2008, just like Cousins is more than a fine player now. Both have dealt with trouble: Randolph’s were more of the legal variety while Cousins’ have had more to do with his general demeanor, but there are red flags around Cousins just like there were around Randolph.

But taking a chance on a troubled player is one of Milwaukee’s only options as far as acquiring cornerstone type talent goes. In 2008, the Bucks weren’t ready to embark on a long rebuilding plan. That’s why Jefferson was an option. Four and a half years and seven playoff games later, the Bucks are still not interested in starting from scratch. But picking 10-15 in the draft every year isn’t going to land the Bucks anyone better than Brandon Jennings. He’s a great value as a number 10 pick, but he’s hardly a player that a franchise can retool around from a talent perspective.

Cousins is that type of guy. Those types of guys don’t become available for no reason. As free agents, we’ve never seen one come to Milwaukee. As draft picks, we’ve seen it a few times, but only in the high lottery. Those options don’t look like plausible ones any time soon.

So I’d encourage Milwaukee to do their best in tracking this Cousins situation. He’s already been reinstated by the organization and it doesn’t look like they’ll be in any hurry to kick him out the door. But if that changes, I’d hope the Bucks were one of the first teams on the phone.

A franchise full of quasi-stars can only go so far. They need to find a way to land a potential real one.


Categories: Trade Rumors

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  1. This is brilliant, I love it. The Trade Machine approved this deal:

    To Milwaukee: Cousins, Thornton, Jimmer ($13.7M)
    To Sacramento: Ellis, Henson, Lamb ($13.4M)

    Think this could happen? Other viable pieces to send to Sacto that the machine approved are Harris (SF is Sacto’s weakest position) instead of Lamb (for $14.3M) or Sanders instead of Henson (for $13.6M). But as far as the Bucks are concerned, in addition to Cousins, they get a larger SG with good scoring capabilities and a backup PG that can shoot well from the perimeter. What’s not to like?

    • id prefer to keep at least one of the rookies. What about Ersan Ellis and Harris for Cousins, Thorton, and Jimmer?

      you have to use substitute gooden for ersan when firing up the machine because ersan isn’t available to trade until february, but I like that one.

  2. Well i think this would be a win-win situations for the bucks. If he gets his head on straight(which i don’t think will happen until he gets older, like Randolph), the bucks look like geniuses and most likely can get him for a lesser value(Im sorry Ellis your and overrated volume scorer). Him and jennings could make a potent pick and roll game, and sanders could provide a great weak side defender to the more grounded, albeit lazy, Cousins. They could be the most interesting front court in the conference, and very comparable to the potential grouping of Drummond and Monroe in Detroit. If he is a flop, they trade him away with his potential and can return to the level of potential they have now.

    That being said, i don’t think this would ever happen, no matter how much i would want it to. The kings, unless they want some money under the table because the Maloofs need it, will not part ways with him unless he does something awful. And is Ellis really enough for the budding star? I think not, it would take more even first round picks as well.

  3. Ellis for Cousins and Tyreke Evans

    Don’t think the Kings would ever agree to it, but the money would work out.

  4. They would never do that, i would maybe do Ellis and Jennings for Evans and Cousins. Honestly i don’t think they would go for that either, i think they would think about the ellis trade if they got our young talent, probably both harris and henson. If we had to put in Sanders instead of Henson i would be disappointed. Illyasova could also be an option but again their would be problems of matching salaries. I think the best deal we could possibly do is Evans, Cousin and Hayes, for Jennings, Ellis, and Harris

      • I’m with you…with all the negatives, I don’t see enough of an up side. Why take the risk? Cousins suddenly becomes a happy guy in Milwaukee? Meh

    • Cousins isn’t a star in my book. Talented, sure, but he’s not a leader and not a winner. He’s also not going to draw a legion of fans to BMO to watch him play. This is just silly.

  5. I think people are underestimating how much it’s going to cost to get Cousins. The Bucks would have to give up Harris, Sanders, Henson, first rounders, and take back Salmons for the Kings to consider a deal.

    • It’s tough to know what direction Sacramento wants to head win. Do they want established guys? Picks and young players? They’ve been rebuilding for so long, they might be at a point where they just want established players in return to bring the organization some semblance of stability.

  6. I say go big or go home.. Monta, Larry, and a 1st round pick for Evans, Cousins, and one of their bad contracts(like Garcia or Hayes).. I am on record that I don’t want to lose Henson or Tobias.. there is too much upside and we really don’t know what ‘Reke has left to offer.. seems to get worse every year

    • I rather offer Henson or Tobias before offering Sanders. I think Larry Sanders has more upside as he is young and shown he can play very well. Great defensive player.

      • I agree that he is extremely valuable, but i think that’s what maximizes his value right now.. But I believe that Henson can do most all of the thing that Larry can do with a small drop in BPG.. Larry’s value is higher and they probably would want the higher value guy

        • I agree Henson is going to be just as good as Larry, so why trade either of them? They are both young with great potential, and unlike cousins they are team players with good attitudes. Kohl and Hammond are too smart to be involved in such a foolish trade. Our record is quite a bit better than the kings right now, we don’t need to be swapping out vital members of our team for guys that have a history of losing.

      • I don’t like that trade for anybody involved, Jeremy. And I think if Sacto is going to trade Cousins, they’ll want young players and/or picks. They’re way too far in the hole to care about this year.

        Personally, I don’t see why Sacto wouldn’t give up Cousins, Thornton and Jimmer for (1) Ellis, (2) Sanders or Henson, and (3) Harris. Ellis gives them a 27 year old upgrade at SG/PG who’d probably pair well with 6’6″ Tyreke Evans. They get a young, exceptionally talented defensive-minded big who’s not inept on offense with either Sanders (trade value is skyrocketing this season) or Henson (everyone is super high on the kid). And they get a young SF (their weakest position) with tons of upside. I may be a Bucks fan and not a Kings fan, but I’d have think I’d like this trade if I’m Sacto and I realize Cousins is not going to work for us (and that Thornton and Jimmer likely are who they are).

        I agree that Cousins normally would demand a king’s ransom in a trade, but his value is not a peak level right now. He’s a malcontent and when you’re actively looking to unload somebody (which we’re assuming in this scenario), you’re not going to get as much as you would when you’re simply fielding unsolicited offers.

    • I’ve never really seen Skiles clash with a star. Maybe Bogut a bit? But he also got Bogut’s best seasons out of him and the most consistent stretches of his career.

  7. While the bucks have pieces that the kings would want (ellis, henson, dalmebert, udoh, ersan gooden) I don’t suggest a trade for cousins, because I don’t think it would work. Cousins would hardly ever see the floor, because skiles would refuse to play him like hes done with so many other players. He refused to play stephen jackson, a player known for having issues similar to cousins, because they had differences, and he did the same thing with leuer last year, a player known for being more mild mannered, who never had issuses in college. He also hasn’t been playing dalembert much this year, dalembert hasn’t seen the court in weeks, partly due to larrys play this year, but probably also due to similar issues, and dalembert has no history of being a “problem player” in the past. If skiles wouldn’t play these players, what makes you think skiles would play cousins, who has been 1 of the most troublesome players during his time in the nba?

  8. Bucks shouldn’t do this trade it will ruined their team chemistry and they will miss the playoff this year.

  9. I absolutely agree with the idea that the Bucks need a legit start and with the idea that Cousins is likely their best chance for one. But I’d expect it to cost a lot — he averaged 18 and 11 as a 21-year old.

    They probably don’t have a shot at Cousins without Sanders AND additional players. They might even need to give up Jennings (of course involving other players to balance rosters).

    Sanders + Udoh + LRMAM for Cousins + Salmons works in the trade machine. Anything better than that is probably wishful thinking.

  10. Fans won’t get behind Demarcus Cousins. Watch him play, he’s not like-able. its as simple as that.

    • One of the main points of the article is making a comparison between Cousins and Zach Randolph, was also unlikable at a time when the Bucks could have acquired him and has since turned a new leaf to become a player most every team in the league wishes it had taken a chance on. Of course nobody would want a sulking and mercurial player who can’t stay on the court… the idea is you pick him up when his value is low and then he matures and reaches his potential.

  11. Best trade we can get in my opinion
    Gives them a salary cap cuts and brings in young talent for them, we take on salary, but bring in a solid 2 guard who is in a bad system that doesn’t use his talents, a good rebounder off the bench, and a great defender we can shift with LRMAM at the Three. I find this as equal as it gets no matter what the wins loss thing shows on the ESPN tracker


  12. It is Milwaukee Bucks receive
    J Johnson

    Kings receive