Lakers, Kings reportedly exchange framework for Cousins deal

DeMarcus Cousins (15) averaged 24.1 points and 12.7 rebounds this past season.

Kelley L Cox/Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

With the NBA Draft less than 24 hours away the trade rumor mill is expectedly heating up. The hottest rumor, the one with the biggest player, the highest pick and the most glamorous franchise involved in all rumors, continues to heat up.

Is DeMarcus Cousins really on the verge of joining Kobe Bryant (but not Jahlil Okafor) in Los Angeles?

Despite what the Sacramento Kings’ owner and head coach have said in recent days, a deal may be a lot closer than first believed.

Yahoo Sports!/FOX Sports 1 NBA Insider Adrian Wojnarowski on Wednesday reported that the rumored talks are indeed real, and that they have reached a point that the two sides are exchanging frameworks of a deal.

In recent days, the tensions between the Kings — particularly their head coach George Karl — and their star big man have seemingly increased, with Cousins on Tuesday tweeting a series of emojis that seemed to reference a snake in the grass, while Karl and Kings owner Vivek Ranadive insisting Cousins is not on the trading block.

But, according to Wojnarowski’s report, Kings vice president of basketball operations and former Kings and Lakers player Vlade Divac is indeed pursuing a deal that would include the Lakers’ No. 2 overall pick in the draft, last year’s lottery pick Julius Randle (who broke his leg in his first career game and missed the remainder of the season), and surprise rookie point guard Jordan Clarkson (the 2014 second-round pick was a first-team All-Rookie selection last season). And even then, per Wojnarowski, the Kings would want back even more.

It should be noted that on Sunday, Divac told the Sacramento Bee of a potential Cousins deal, "That is not happening."

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The Kings selected Cousins with the fifth overall pick out of Kentucky in 2010. Cousins, who entered the draft early after playing one year at the University of Kentucky, was an NBA All-Star selection this past season. He was named to the NBA All-Rookie team in 2010-11.

The 6-foot-11 center averaged career-bests in points (24.1) and rebounds (12.7) in 59 games for the Kings last season.

Citing sources, Wojnarowski added that the Kings front office is actually unwilling to deal Cousins to Denver, where former Kings assistant coach Michael Malone is now the head coach and former Kings general manager Pete D’Alessandro is now in the front office.

According to the report, the Lakers are reluctant to deal Randle and Clarkson but talks are expected to intensify into Thursday.