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Rumor: Kings, Suns discussed DeMarcus Cousins trade. Don’t bet on it happening.

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I would take this rumor with an entire box of Morton’s Kosher salt.

But since DeMarcus Cousins trade rumors are harder to kill than a T-1000 Terminator model, here is the latest one, via John Gambadoro Arizona Sports.com — the Kings and Phoenix Suns have been talking Cousins.

Gambadoro reports the discussions have centered around involving small forward T.J. Warren, center Alex Len, Phoenix’s first-round pick this year and possibly more. The Suns own all of their future picks and also own two future Miami Heat first-round picks from the Goran Dragic deal.

Sacramento has the need for a lead point guard and 2017’s draft class has point guards near the top of many mock drafts, including Washington’s Markelle Fultz and UCLA’s Lonzo Ball. Gambadoro said Eric Bledsoe and Devin Booker would not be in the deal.

Remember, Bledsoe and Cousins played together at Kentucky.

Never say never, but here’s the list of reasons I don’t think this has any chance of happening.

• Kings owner Vivek Ranadive is still the biggest Cousins backer in the Sacramento organization, and if the owner doesn’t want a trade to happen it doesn’t happen.

• In fact, there are reports that Ranadive and the Kings plan to offer Cousins a designated player contract this summer worth north of $207 million (the final numbers depend on the salary cap), and I have heard the same thing. Also, Cousins plans to sign that contract. If you’re saying to yourself “but Cousins isn’t happy in Sacramento” you’re not wrong, he’s been frustrated with management for years. However, money talks. The most the Suns could offer him (post trade) is going to be $6 million less just the first season alone compared to that Kings contract, and even if Cousins eventually signed a fifth max season with the Suns he would be leaving at least $36 million on the table to go to another team. Who is leaving that money on the table?

• Would the Suns want to do this kind of deal, especially keeping Bledsoe and Booker? Damn straight. But it takes two to do this tango. That said, a good way to make sure your fan base knows you’re trying to make a big move is to leak stuff like this.

• Talk to other teams around the league about dealing with the Kings and you often hear about how they don’t think the left arm knows what the right is doing there. For example, there will be talks with one Sacramento person about a deal, but when another person in the organization is contacted the teams are told something different. It’s been better of late, but there can still be conflicting voices within the organization. Which is to say maybe the Suns had some level of discussion with a Kings’ representative, but it may not be the people with the hammer on this decision.

• If you’re Cousins and you want to get out of the dysfunctional organization that has been Sacramento, do you really want to go to Phoenix now and work for Robert Sarver?

DeMarcus Cousins answers first several Kings-related questions same way (video)

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DeMarcus Cousins had a bitter exit from the Kings, but that won’t be the last they see of him.

Cousins’ Pelicans will host Sacramento tomorrow night.

Not that Cousins rushed to talk about the matchup.

Justin Verrier of ESPN:

Cousins is pretty funny when joking with the media, and his smile is contagious. Just listen to all the laughs Cousins generates as he goes through his shtick.

Bonus points to Cousins for eventually breaking down and providing real answers. Some of his relationships in Sacramento were clearly meaningful to him, and he wanted to acknowledge those — even if he’d prefer just to get past this awkward game and all the talk it invites.

Report: Sweet-shooting 7-footer Lauri Markkanen leaving Arizona for NBA draft

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Lauri Markkanen is 7-foot and made 42% of his 3-pointers this season.

That combination alone will have NBA teams drooling, and the Arizona freshman will capitalize.

Evan Daniels of Scout:

Arizona’s Lauri Markkanen is declaring for the NBA Draft and is expected to sign with an agent, multiple sources told Scout.

Markkanen seems pretty certain to get picked in the lottery, likely in the top 10.

Calling him a good shooter for his height undersells him. It’s not just he shoots so efficiently from deep, it’s that he can generate 3-pointers in so many ways — pick-and-pops, spot-ups, off off-ball screens and even running pick-and-rolls himself. Having the height to shoot over defenders is his most noticeable asset, but don’t undersell his mobility.

Markkanen also finishes well at the rim and offensively rebounds at extremely impressive clip for someone who spends so much time on the perimeter. Those interior skills instill belief he will eventually become a suitable defender.

There are a couple red flags. He’s old for a freshman, turning 20 before the draft. He leaves plenty to be desired defensively, especially due to his lack of strength.

But his size and shooting are tantalizing. That’s plenty for now.

Dwyane Wade wowed by jumping, around-the-back alley-oop pass in McDonald’s All-American Game (video)

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Watch for Collin Sexton in the 2018 NBA draft.

In the meantime, the Alabama commit had all eyes — include Dwyane Wade‘s — on him with this pass in the McDonald’s All-American Game last night.

Carmelo Anthony on shrinking role with Knicks: ‘I see the writing on the wall… I’m at peace with that’

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Carmelo Anthony scored just nine points on 12 shots in the Knicks loss to the Heat last night — well below his season averages of 22 points on 19 shots per game.

Anthony, via Ian Begley of ESPN:

“I see the writing on the wall. I see what it is,” Anthony said late Wednesday night. “I see what they’re trying to do, and it’s just me accepting that. That’s what puts me at peace. Just knowing and understanding how things work. I’m at peace with that.”

Is Anthony talking about just the Knicks’ final dozen games of this season, when they’re clearly interesting in testing less-proven players? Or is he referring to his entire tenure in New York?

Anthony has said he’d consider waiving his no-trade clause if the Knicks want to rebuild, and they’ll reportedly try again to trade him this offseason. Perhaps, this is Anthony indicating he’s warming up to the idea of allowing a trade.

Anthony’s and Kristaps Porzingis‘ timelines are barely compatible, if at all. It’d make sense for the Knicks to go in a different direction.

Could Anthony be at peace with that?