Report: Lakers would still trade D’Angelo Russell for DeMarcus Cousins straight up. Kings wouldn’t.

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DeMarcus Cousins’ agent Dan Fegan tried. He was the guy who guided Dwight Howard’s exit from Orlando, and now he was attempting to get his other top center out of Sacramento and to the Los Angeles Lakers. He got permission from the Kings’ owner to explore a deal, but he couldn’t find one that Kings GM and the owner would sign off on. Now more and more it looks like George Karl and Cousins may just have to try and get along.

But if something changes, the Lakers would gladly give up their recent No. 2 pick D’Angelo Russell for Cousins, reports Mark Heisler at the Daily News.

Of course, it’s not the Lakers side of that equation that was ever in question.

You shortcut (the rebuilding process) at your peril, even if the Lakers were willing to trade their No. 2 pick for Sacramento’s even-higher-maintenance-than-Dwight-Howard DeMarcus Cousins … and would send Russell up there tomorrow if that would do it, a league source told me.

Not that it’s likely to happen, either. With owner Vivek Ranadive intent on not trading Cousins, much less to the hated Lakers, the Kings asked for the moon — the No. 2 pick, Jordan Clarkson, Julius Randle, more picks.

That was the asking price I heard as well, and that maybe you could talk the Kings back to “just” Randle, Clarkson and now Russell but that was the floor.

That’s not a deal the Lakers should do.

Those three young players form a solid core, the kind free agents will take a long look at because there is potential. The Lakers will be swinging for the fences, and they will connect at some point. That doesn’t mean LaMarcus Aldridge comes this summer (smart money there is still on the Texas teams), nor Kevin Love (don’t expect him to bolt Cleveland, at least this summer). But it means that over the next few years the Lakers are likely to land one or two big names, which paired with that core vault them back up near the top of the West.

In the short term, you sell the Kobe Bryant farewell tour (even if he will not call it that).

Cousins is a cornerstone player, but you can’t give up everything to get him.