The Boston Celtics have gotten some surprisingly solid production out of their center position so far this season.
Jared Sullinger is off to a strong start, nearly averaging a double-double (10.9 points and 9.3 rebounds per game) through 18 contests and posting impressive performances like his 18-point, 15-rebound, 2-block effort against the Washington Wizards on Friday.
That said, Sullinger still is no match for who he’ll square off against in Mexico City on Thursday night.
Sullinger will be tasked with guarding Sacramento Kings center DeMarcus Cousins. Despite playing in just 11 games this season, Cousins leads all NBA big men with 28.2 points per game and also is pulling down 11 rebounds per game. His 27.3 player efficiency rating is fourth-best in the NBA, behind only Stephen Curry, Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant.
Seems like a player the Celtics would want, right?
Cousins isn’t exactly on stable footing in Sacramento, where he reportedly cursed out head coach George Karl in a locker room rant a few weeks ago. With a host of draft picks at its disposal, Boston has surfaced as a potential suitor that would have the resources to lure the All-Star center in a trade.
Thursday’s Celtics-Kings matchup is as good a time as any to revisit the possibility of Danny Ainge and Co. landing Cousins, even if the Celtics’ president of basketball operations put a damper on those rumors earlier in November.
It’s obvious Cousins would represent a major upgrade in Boston’s frontcourt, which has plenty of depth but isn’t loaded with talent. The Celtics lack a true star player, and the 25-year-old instantly would become the face of a young, rising franchise.
That said, it’s difficult to imagine this deal going down any time soon. For starters, the Kings likely would have a high asking price. Boston probably would need to part with several of its future first-round picks, including the 2016 first-rounder it acquired from the Brooklyn Nets, which at moment looks like a very high lottery selection. Then there’s the issue of Cousins’ maturity. He has a track record of creating chemistry problems, which seems to clash with the Celtics’ rebuilding philosophy of acquiring high-character players under even-keeled head coach Brad Stevens.
We know by now that every trade target is on the table as long as Ainge is running the show. As it stands now, though, Thursday’s matchup in Mexico City might be the last the Celtics see of Cousins for a while.
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