Why It’s Time For Celtics To Move On From DeMarcus Cousins Pursuit (For Now)

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We hate to be the bearers of bad news. And we apologize for quoting Rick Pitino. But DeMarcus Cousins is not walking through that door, folks.

A report surfaced Tuesday that Cousins intends to sign a maximum-money contract extension with the Sacramento Kings this offseason. The deal, reportedly worth $207 million, would keep the All-Star big man in Sacramento until 2023.

That’s an unfortunate development if you’re a fan of the Boston Celtics, who have been linked to more Cousins trade rumors than we can count. Every report of dysfunction in Sacramento brought the inevitable chatter that the Kings would deal their talented yet troubled center, and Boston, with its boatload of assets and an aggressive president of basketball operations in Danny Ainge, looked like a prime destination.

Now, not so much.

Of course, the latest Cousins news doesn’t guarantee he’ll be a King for life. The 26-year-old can’t sign any deal with Sacramento until July 1, and we wouldn’t put it past the Kings — who went through six coaches in Cousins’ first six seasons — to change their minds and put him back on the trading block.

But Tuesday’s report is a pretty good indication the two-time All-Star isn’t going anywhere. Now eligible to be the team’s “designated player” under the NBA’s new collective bargaining agreement, Cousins can earn up to 35 percent of Sacramento’s salary cap and get a five-year extension on his current contract, which runs through 2018. Even if he seeks a max deal elsewhere, he couldn’t earn close to the $207 million he’d net with the Kings.

You might question why Sacramento, a middling-to-bottom-of-the-pack franchise, would want to keep Cousins around instead of blowing it up and starting a rebuild. For now, though, Cousins is saying the right things: He insisted Tuesday that Sacramento is “where I want to be” before asking reporters if they wanted him to stick around. (Things got a little awkward when one reporter answered “no.”)

So, what does this mean for the Celtics? Despite his baggage, Cousins was an enticing target for Boston, a go-to scorer and dominant rebounder who had the potential to make the C’s a serious title contender.

But there are other talented NBA big men besides Cousins, believe it or not, and with the Celtics fighting for NBA prominence, they’d do well to move on from Boogie and set their sights on more attainable targets — at least until Cousins demands a trade five years from now.

Thumbnail photo via Winslow Townson/USA TODAY Sports Images

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