Lakers pass on acquiring DeMarcus Cousins from Sacramento

first_imgThat did not prove enough, however, in retaining Dwight Howard and Pau Gasol in consecutive offseasons. The Lakers could also not attract LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony, who still walked away impressed with the Lakers’ pitch that featured them playing Hollywood-style documentary on his life. “It was a good experience to go through the organization of putting together a presentation,” Kupchak said. “It’s a competitive environment today. The rules are very different. It’s something we have to get used to doing in making presentations and competing against other teams — sometimes competing against other teams when you have to offer a lot less money. So it was a good experience and will help us going forward.” The Lakers will also have to decide whether to exercise team options for Jordan Hill ($9 million) and Robert Sacre (under $1 million).“The decision has not been made yet,” Kupchak said.Lakers forward Ed Davis also opted out of his player option worth $1.1 million. He hopes to get a two- or three-year deal worth $7-8 million per year or a one-year deal worth $9-10 million. Kupchak said Davis has worked out at the Lakers’ practice facility in recent days. “There will be a vibrant market for him. “He’s made it clear this is his first choice.” Kupchak said of Davis. “I don’t think we’ll get surprised, although the market moves pretty quick sometimes. But if we can figure out a way to bring him back, I know he would like that. So would we.”Plenty of work indeed for the Lakers. But the Lakers addressed a key part of their rebuilding project by both resisting a trade and acquiring a young point guard who will help them adjust to the modern NBA.“It’s his overall package where he has skills on all levels,” said Kupchak, who praised Russell’s passing, decision-making, leadership scoring and size. “That’s his gift.” The Lakers endlessly debated which building block would provide the sturdiest foundation to their rebuilding project. But the questions involved more than just drafting big (Duke’s Jahlil Okafor) or small (Ohio State’s D’Angelo Russell). Before they selected Russell with the second pick of the 2015 NBA Draft on Thursday, the Lakers also debated whether they should use that pick to acquire Sacramento Kings center DeMarcus Cousins.The Lakers had discussions this week with the Kings about acquiring their 24-year-old All-Star center amid a Yahoo! Sports report indicating Sacramento coach George Karl campaigned for the franchise to trade him. That did not happen. The Kings wanted assets that included the Lakers’ No. 2 pick, Julius Randle and Jordan Clarkson, perhaps even more. The Lakers declined to trade away such youthful parts, mindful they could help the team’s long-term rebuilding project. “The No. 2 pick has never been seriously in play,” Kupchak said following the draft. “Earlier on, we knew there would be at least three players that, if you had the No. 2 pick, we would be very comfortable or even ecstatic about selecting.” The Kings have still held out hope Cousins and Karl could salvage their relationship, though a league source familiar with Cousins’ thinking said he does not trust Karl or the organization. Though Sacramento will entertain trade scenarios involving Cousins, the Kings are currently leaning toward retaining him.Meanwhile, the Lakers became enamored with Russell’s potential. “His upside is unlimited, and we didn’t feel that way about all the players we were considering,” Kupchak said. “He is young. He has gifts you can work really long and hard on.”But the Lakers’ rebuilding project will still hinge on free agency. The Lakers will focus more on big men (LaMarcus Aldridge, Marc Gasol and Kevin Love, DeAndre Jordan) than on point guards (Rajon Rondo, Goran Dragic). The Lakers have room to sign one of those players to a max contract. “We’d look to focus on the frontcourt,” Kupchak said. “We’re going to do the best we can. We’re always optimistic going in. It’s always a challenge. There’s 29 other teams. A lot of them don’t have cap room. Many of them do. But the home teams have a huge advantage with giving the extra year, especially when you’re talking about max factors. Those are all factors. But we’re always optimistic. We’re always well organized. We feel we have a great product, great city and great legacy to sell.”center_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorlast_img

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