It’s well-known that the Sacramento Kings engaged with the Los Angeles Lakers in trade discussions for DeMarcus Cousins. We know that the Lakers balked at including Brandon Ingram in the trade, which led to Cousins ultimately being traded to the New Orleans Pelicans and the Lakers front office being sent into chaos. In the aftermath, nobody has had more details than ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne, and she revealed more details in a recent episode of The Lowe Post with Zach Lowe.
As transcribed by Silver Screen And Roll (SB Nation’s Lakers blog):
Shelburne: (The trade) was supposed to be Ingram and D'Angelo. That was what the Kings wanted.
Lowe: Do you think when push comes to shove, the Lakers do that?
Shelburne: No. Actually, I think Jim would've. At that moment, I heard he was very in favor of doing the trade for Cousins. (Cousins) is a great player and the Lakers feel like they need a great player and every organization at some level has to have that confidence to say well it didn't work over there but we can make it work here.
Buddy Hield has played well since joining the Kings, and the draft pick from the Pelicans should be a decent pick in a strong draft, so this isn’t to rehash the argument over whether the Kings got enough, but it’s amazing to me that the Kings were asking for so much and might have actually got it had they waited.
Another interesting part of the podcast, though, was Shelburne’s explanation as to why the trade with the Lakers never gained traction. She said to Lowe:
“You know Vlade, right? If you’re going to do a deal with him you don’t do it over the phone. You do it in person. You negotiate with him in person, you talk to him in person. That’s, that’s him.”
This concerns me as a Kings fan. The league moves too fast to conduct every negotiation in person. But this does explain why the Kings made the deal over the All Star break. That’s when all the GMs are together in one place. If Vlade wants to negotiate in person, he was never going to wait until the trade deadline and work the phones for the best final deal.
That said, we know Vlade has been involved in deals that, presumably, involved phone negotiations. On draft night the Kings made two trades in the first round, one with Phoenix and one with Charlotte. So maybe it’s that Vlade just prefers to make his big deals face-to-face? It’s unclear.
Personally I’m just happy that, at least for now, the trade seems to be working out ok for the Kings. The team is playing hard, we’re seeing good glimpses from young players, and the Kings have draft assets moving forward. I imagine we’d take this report much worse if the trade didn’t look ok at this point.