There’s one NBA free agency rumor which I’ve been waiting to fade away for a few days now, one which has a surprising amount of steam, but still not nearly enough to take as legitimate.
On the surface, such a move sounds like it would be just as impactful across the league as the Golden State Warriors acquiring Kevin Durant. Taking one of the best young centers in the NBA and adding him to the roster of the reigning champions? It’d definitely be a game-changer.
I should warn Cavs fans not to get too excited about such a game-changer taking place, though. Right now, the idea of Cleveland trading for Cousins is highly unlikely.
The initial rumor – which wasn’t really sourced by any significant reporters – claimed the swap would be Cousins and Ben McLemore for Kevin Love and Iman Shumpert. That said, the only credible rumor tying Cousins to Cleveland is Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders claiming the Cavs called Sacramento to gauge interest in a potential trade. The talks apparently “went nowhere.”
That’s the only legit, actual news regarding any sort of union between Cleveland and Cousins. Outside of that, it’s been noise on Twitter from nobody with actual sources.
So, add “lack of genuine rumors” to the reasoning behind why Cousins is unlikely to wear a Cavs uniform any time soon.
Another reason it seems lofty is just whether or not he’d be a fit in Cleveland.
I don’t want that to imply in any way Cousins wouldn’t succeed with the Cavs. He’s an absolute monster in the paint, and is coming off the best scoring season of his career. He’d certainly give them some low-post dominance on both ends of the court, sure.
At the same time, his presence would require a complete shift in strategy for the Cavs.
Let’s say Love is involved in the trade, and the new starting forwards are Cousins and Tristan Thompson. Now consider the fact Cleveland’s two best players – LeBron James and Kyrie Irving – thrive best when the lane is clear for them to drive through. In dealing Love, the Cavs would lose a big-time floor-spacer, someone defenses have to respect and follow out to the three-point line should he drift that way.
Cousins’ game, however, doesn’t stretch that far out. As a result, he and Thompson may end up just clogging the lane more, making it difficult for James to cut through while also eliminating a kick-out option.
Of course, if you have someone of Cousins’ talent, there’s no doubt ways to work around this. Again, though, the argument isn’t whether or not Cousins would make Cleveland better. It’s whether or not this deal is possible.
Right now, the answer seems to be “no.”
Sure, you can fall back on the Cavs calling to express interest in trading for Cousins. If it’s indeed true, can you blame them? Who wouldn’t test the water on a disgruntled player who sure seems like he has no desire to stay on his current team longer than he has to?
At the same time, the Kings don’t seem interested in moving him, something the Boston Celtics are apparently hearing as well, as they’ve been linked to Cousins in plenty of trade rumors. They’re getting the same results Cleveland did – no dice.
Look, I get the temptation to make a major move now that Golden State titled all the odds in its favor for next year. That said, Cousins joining the Cavs seems too far-fetched, while also being more complicated than one would think.
I’ll happily admit I was wrong should this deal suddenly materialize. Right now, though, I’d urge those hopeful fans to not hold their breath on such a thing taking place.