Trade Idea: Trading up two spots to get DeMarcus Cousins


Pistons receive:

  • Andres Nocioni (8.5 points, 3.0 rebounds, 1.0 assists, 0.3 blocks, 0.4 steals)
  • No. 5 pick in 2010 draft
  • Sacramento’s second-round pick in 2013 or 2014 (Kings’ option in 2013)

Kings receive:

  • Tayshaun Prince (13.5 points, 5.1 rebounds, 3.3 assists, 0.4 blocks, 0.7 steals)
  • No. 7 pick in 2010 draft


Pistons receive:

Player 2010/11 2011/12 2012/13 2013/14  2014/15
Andres Nocioni $6,850,000 $6,650,000  $7,500,000 $0 $0
No. 5 pick $2,812,200 $3,023,100  $3,234,000  $4,097,478  $5,433,256
Total $9,662,200 $9,673,100 $10,734,000 $4,097,478  $5,433,256

Kings receive:

Player 2010/11 2011/12 2012/13 2013/14 2014/15
Tayshaun Prince $11,147,760 $0 $0 $0 $0
No. 7 pick $2,331,700 $2,506,600 $2,681,400 $3,405,378 $4,566,612
Total $13,479,460 $2,506,600 $2,681,400 $3,405,378 $4,566,612

Team option

Qualifying offer

Pistons’ perspective

Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowski provided the basis of this trade Sunday:

Sources say the Kings are also still open to trade possibilities, and Detroit and Utah are two teams eager to move up in the draft. The Pistons’ Tayshaun Prince could be intriguing to the Kings, who are eager to add a veteran small forward to the roster.

Zach Harper (Cowbell Kingdom) and I discussed the particulars last night, and we both believe this version makes the most sense.

Nocioni is overpaid, and you probably hate him. But he only has one more guaranteed season than Prince.

He’s a good defender, and he would inject some of the much-need toughness Joe Dumars has talked about finding. If he didn’t shoot so much, Nocioni would be a great role player. And his ability to swing to power forward makes him more ideal for this roster than Prince.

But really, he’s the bullet Detroit would have to bite to get DeMarcus Cousins. Dumars has been rumored to want to move up, and Cousins is often mentioned as the target. Cousins could be the Pistons’ starting center for the next 10 years, or he could flame out of the league in a few years. With the fifth pick, I think the risk presents a great value.

It appears the first four picks of the draft will be John Wall, Evan Turner, Derrick Favors and Wesley Johnson. That means Cousins would likely be available at No. 5.

I know one conclusion could be: if the Kings are willing to do this trade, they’d probably pass on Cousins, so Detroit would be better off staying at No. 7. But Golden State would likely take Cousins at No. 6. Logic like this doesn’t fly (from Vincent Goodwill Jr. of The Detroit News):

Although there’s a spot between Detroit and Sacramento, you can just about "X" the Golden State Warriors out of the equation. Don Nelson is running the show, and the last time he took a big man with a top-10 pick was in 1998, when he drafted the portly Robert "Tractor" Traylor from Michigan–then subsequently traded him for the big man he really wanted, Dirk Nowitzki.

I don’t understand how taking Stephen Curry over Jordan Hill last year proves the Warriors won’t take Cousins. That’s the only time Nelson has had a top-10 pick since 1998. It’s hardly a pattern.

I e-mailed Rasheed Malek of last night, and he believes Golden State would likely take Cousins if he’s available at No. 6. The Warriors need an interior presence, and Cousins would provide that. Besides, it’s not like Nelson’s future with the Warriors is guaranteed, so there’s no point of passing on the best player available for someone who fits his small-ball system.

If the Pistons want Cousins – and indications are they do – a trade like this is probably necessary to get him.

Kings’ perspective

Zach Harper of Cowbell Kingdom:

The Kings have two missions in retooling the roster this summer: 1) get better defensively and 2) cut long-term salary for the upcoming Collective Bargaining Agreement. This trade seems to solve both of these issues in one fell swoop and it’s almost too easy.

Tayshaun Prince seems to be the perfect mentor for guys like Donté Greene and Omri Casspi. A year under his tutelage could be invaluable. With the strides Donté Greene made between his rookie and sophomore years, being shown the ropes by Prince could help him go from very good role player to 10-year starter. For Omri, Prince could help curb some of the confidence in practice every day and make him learn how to be creative and crafty in the way he attacks the best defenders in the league.

Also, having his expiring contract at the trade deadline when contenders will be looking for a dynamic defender to complete their championship run could be even more valuable. With the year of contract lopped off the future, the Kings would get maximum roster flexibility. It would put the Kings nearly $30 million under the cap heading into the potential lockout and allow them to go on a deadline spending spree or a free agency spending spree once the CBA is hammered out.

The real question is whether or not the Kings can justify passing on DeMarcus Cousins if he’s there. He has the potential to be a huge bust because of attitude problems or to be the best player in the draft. Is giving that opportunity to find out worth some financial freedom and a defensive role player with the seventh pick (Udoh or Whiteside most likely)? How do you sell that to your fans in good conscience?

My response

Maybe the Pistons aren’t as public about it or maybe they’ll be ill-suited for the new NBA, but I’m glad they’re not overly concerned about cutting payroll.

I don’t think it was a coincidence Chauncey Billups was traded to his hometown of Denver. Prince is from California, and I think Dumars would try to accommodate him, too.

Prince’s attitude wavered at time this season, but I think it would improve in California. He still looks up to Ben Wallace and Richard Hamilton in Detroit. I think he would embrace being a leader with the younger Kings.

Zach also brings up one reason I’d hesitate to make the trade. Prince could have big value to a contender at the trade deadline.


If the Pistons love Cousins and the Kings don’t (which both seem very possible), this trade makes a ton of sense for both sides.

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