How the Lakers can land DeMarcus Cousins and start a super team

WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 19: DeMarcus Cousins (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 19: DeMarcus Cousins (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images) /

The Los Angeles Lakers have had a lot of promise surrounding them in 2018. To kickstart a new proverbial super team, LA must land DeMarcus Cousins at the trade deadline.

The Los Angeles Lakers have been promising a super team in 2018. Well, the team itself has not been making these promises; instead, speculation and rumors around the league have created a true belief that the Lakers will return to championship glory.

The Lakers are not doing anything to stop that speculation, though. General Manager Rob Pelinka and President of Basketball Operations Magic Johnson have been setting everything in place to make a big move next offseason. They got rid of Timofey Mozgov, they seemingly are ready to get rid of Julius Randle and Jordan Clarkson.

LeBron James has been the center of this talk; before it was Paul George. With George and the Thunder struggling it could be both. Regardless, something special seems to be in the works in Los Angeles.

Compiling a group of superstars without already having one on the team is no easy task. Yet still, a powerful trio could be coming to Los Angeles to change the tide of the franchise. Alongside George and James could be DeMarcus Cousins. This gives the Lakers a starting five of three superstars and two superstars in the making (Lonzo Ball and Brandon Ingram).

We already ran the results on how this super team would perform together and how it hypothetically could be put together. With only so much cap space, Los Angeles must somehow make room to sign these three guys who all can be free agents after the season.

However, instead of signing all three, the Lakers may be best suited in trading for one — DeMarcus Cousins (h/t LakersNation). Although Cousins is on an expiring deal, it makes the most sense for the Lakers to kick-start this movement by trading for him. It gives the team flexibility. It is more than possible.

The New Orleans Pelicans are currently 18-17, eighth in the Western Conference. Cousins and Anthony Davis have not been able to insert themselves in the top tier of Western Conference teams. With a very small chance of resigning Cousins, considering how they have performed, the Pelicans are better off trading Cousins for this season and seasons beyond.

The trade?

New Orleans gets Brook Lopez and Jordan Clarkson, two guys that help them immediately. Lopez is not a bad center and would give Davis more range to play like the superstar he is. Clarkson may be the more beneficial acquisition as he gives a team that desperately lacks shooting a great shooting option.

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In return with Cousins, the Lakers pick up several smaller contracts to balance the salaries. Rondo is on an expiring deal; Anjinca and Miller are only owed a combined $7 million next season.

On the surface, it may not make sense for the Lakers to trade for an expiring superstar in Cousins, but it does. If Cousins resigns with the Lakers with a super team promised the Lakers would then have Bird Rights. Owning Bird Rights on Cousins is huge as it allows the team to sign one or two other superstars then go over the cap with Cousins.

Even if Cousins did not resign with the Lakers, which would be unlikely, the Lakers would be freeing up Clarkson’s contract regardless. This would only give the team more space to sign other stars in the offseason. Either way, it is a win-win.

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This seems to be the smartest move for the Lakers if they do want to assemble a super team. They need an established star already on the roster. That established star should be DeMarcus Cousins.