The 'Cers, as constructed, are not a contender. They will not challenge the LeBron's of the world, especially when they just got pasted by LeBron's old running mate Dwyane Wade in Chicago. As an aside, I was at that game, and the scoreline actually flatters Indiana. Kevin Seraphin got garbage time buckets, believe you me.
The Pacers two best players are Paul George and Myles Turner. Jeff Teague is hampered, Monta Ellis is not getting younger, Thad Young is decent, but never going to be an All Star. Turner, conversely, projects to be a multi-time All Star. And that is precisely the issue. Projects. Myles Turner is 20. And his stock has never been higher. The inimitable Zach Lowe wrote that Turner "should grow into the ideal center for the modern NBA." Make no mistake, dude can play, and is only going to get better.
However, Turner is 20. The Pacers' marquee player, Paul George, is 26. By the time Turner hits his prime, PG13 will be well beyond the prime of his career.
You know who else is 26? Demarcus Cousins.
Let's rescue him! For too long, "Boogie" Cousins has been trapped in basketball Hell. Sacramento was basically forced to keep him because they needed him when it came time for season ticket sales in their sparkling new arena, the Golden 1 Center. Guess what? Those tickets are sold! Non-refundable, ba-bay! Unquestionably, unequivocally, without a shadow of a doubt, Cousins is going to leave Sacramento when his contract is up at the end of the 2017-2018 season. Boogie is a mainstay on any players who should be traded list, like this one.
Basketball junkies, league pass subscribers, and Sacramento fans know how good Boogie is. He's a top-10 player in the league. So is Paul George! I bet they'd be friends. They've already played on Team USA together, and won gold!
My trade proposal is as follows: Pacers send out Myles Turner, Monta Ellis, next year's first round pick and salary cap filler in exchange for Demarcus Cousins and Ben McLemore from Sactown.
Here's why the Pacers do it: it pairs two 26-year-old all-world NBA stars through their respective primes (assuming they both re-sign). PG13 and Cousins play complementary positions. This is a no brainer.
Here's why the Kings do it: Hope! The Kings aren't going anywhere as currently constructed. Their best hope is the 8th seed and a sweep at the hands of the juggernaut. Myles is the jewel in this trade, a building block that allows them to build in any way they choose. The Kings have previously pursued Monta, who brings veteran leadership to an unsound foundation. They also get another first round pick. Sactown has been quietly shopping McLemore. And the biggest reason they might go for this trade? Vlade Divac is up for whatever, Bud Light-style. You want pick swaps, you got 'em!
I'm here to solve the Pacers lineup problems. The Pacers are constructed to win now, except that their center is a second-year player who is 20 years old. Rather than waiting for an All Star, let's get one that is ready-made and proven. Will this trade happen? Unlikely! People who know more about basketball than I do would be taking a gigantic risk on this trade. But! No risk no reward, or something to that effect involving breakfast food.