If the Celtics are going to land all-star DeMarcus Cousins it's going to happen tonight.
Is that a fact?
No, it's a prediction.
One that's based on Danny Ainge's track record as Celtics president of basketball operations and based on Sacramento's needs.
The Kings, a team that has been trying to become a Western Conference powerhouse, wants to give their fans a winning team. Sacramento hasn't been competitive since the early 2000's so Celtics' future draft picks isn't going to pry Cousins out of their hands. But if Ainge can trade up into the top 10 in tonight's draft, take those future picks that Ainge has been piling up for two years, add some of the best young talent on the Celtics' roster then maybe you can grab Sacramento's attention.
But another team that's trying to pry Cousins away is the Los Angeles Lakers. The Lakers have the 2nd pick overall, a pick that's always going to be higher than the Celtics' in tonight's draft but the Lakers don't have much else to offer. Aside from Julius Randle, an unproven second year player whose season-ending injury is a cause for concern and a point guard named Jordan Clarkson, that's about it.
After Ainge told reporters that there aren't any 'untouchable' players on the Celtics roster, I think it's safe the say the Kings can have at it and pick any player or two, or three, or four that they want from the Celtics. Add that to a lottery pick in this year's draft, and two future first rounders; and you pretty much have the best deal the Kings are going to get.
The Kings have to ultimately decide tonight that they're willing to go down this road. Do the Kings grant coach George Karl's wish of taking Cousins off his team? Is management willing to make such a move? The Kings could ultimately decide to deal Cousins but that decision might happen later this summer, which won't help the Celtics.
Trading Cousins is definitely a setback for the Kings' rebuilding process. But it could also create cap space for the Kings to sign a free agent this summer and it surrounds Rudy Gay with a handful of gritty, hard working rotation guys who surprised everyone last season when they pushed their way into the playoffs in a season when the C's had no business making it in.
One player who love to play with his old teammate is Isaiah Thomas. Shortly after a report that indicated that Cousins wanted out of Sacramento, Thomas posted on Cousins' Instagram account 'If they don't want you, I know a team who wants you'. Thomas, who played with Cousins in Sacramento, probably thinks that Cousins will be a good fit in Boston if he's already trying to recruit the young stud.
If the C's don't pull off the deal for Cousins tonight then the chances of the Celtics landing the young star will drop dramatically. Ainge will be forced to try to bring in a third team and hope that he can satisfy both sides in some sort of three way swap, which is almost always (when one all-star is involved) impossible to pull off.