DeMarcus Cousins

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Lakers, 76ers reportedly interested in trade for Derrick Rose

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Derrick Rose‘s renaissance has come to the point this season he is in the running for Sixth Man of the Year, averaging 18.3 points, 5.9 assists, and 2.4 rebounds per game (before Monday’s game against the Wizards).

The Pistons are in the mix for a playoff spot in the East — three games back of the eighth-seed Nets, who are finally getting healthy — but with Blake Griffin out for the season they are expected to be sellers at the deadline. That means Rose, a guy who could help a number of contending teams.

The Lakers and 76ers are among those interested, according to Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports.

The Los Angeles Lakers, Philadelphia 76ers and multiple teams with championship aspirations have expressed interest in trading for Detroit Pistons guard Derrick Rose, league sources told Yahoo Sports…

The Lakers and Sixers are in search of point guard assistance for the stretch run, sources said.

The Lakers need a second playmaker as their offense falls by 9.8 points per 100 possessions when LeBron James is off the court. To make the deal work, the Lakers would have to dangle Kyle Kuzma plus someone to fill the salary (Avery Bradley would work but that would cost Los Angeles another starter; DeMarcus Cousins and Quinn Cook works, too, but why would the Pistons want them?). The Lakers are limited in picks they can send out after the haul they sent to New Orleans in the Anthony Davis deal.

The 76ers need a playmaking point guard to go next to Ben Simmons at points, ideally one who can stretch the floor (Rose is shooting just 31.8 percent from three). The Sixers would likely dangle Zhaire Smith and maybe Mike Scott to make the salaries work.

Expect the Pistons to listen to offers up to the deadline, playing teams off each other to get the best possible deal. But Rose may well be on the move before Feb. 6.

Willie Cauley-Stein: John Calipari warned me about Kings when they drafted me

Willie Cauley-Stein
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The Kings have a reputation.

John Calipari coached enough future Kings at Memphis and Kentucky to know it well. DeMarcus Cousins most notably had problems with Sacramento. So did Tyreke Evans. Calipari even got a chance to evaluate the Kings up close when they gauged his interest in him.

So, when Sacramento drafted Willie Cauley-Stein No. 6 in 2015, his college coach provided insight.

Cauley-Stein, via Logan Murdock of NBC Sports Bay Area:

“Before I got drafted there, [University of Kentucky] coach [John Calipari] kind of warned me what that organization was like already,” Cauley-Stein admitted. “So, I mean, I just went in there just trying to get better. Every year just try to keep on getting better, and that’s the way I approached the game and every day.”

Cauley-Stein’s tenure in Sacramento didn’t bear much fruit. The team never made the playoffs. His development was uneven. By the end, both sides were ready to move on.

Despite a bigger offer from the Hornets, Cauley-Stein signed with the Warriors for two years, $4,463,840 with a player option. He hasn’t really stood out in Golden State.

Maybe Cauley-Stein’s career would be in similar shape no matter where he began it. Some of his issues are more internal than external. And again, joining the Warriors hasn’t exactly jumpstarted his career.

But perhaps spending his formative professional years amid so much dysfunction had a real and lasting effect. This is why other top draft prospects have tried to avoid Sacramento. Remember, the NBA’s draft system generally places the best young prospects in the worst organizations.

At least the Kings – led by another former Calipari player, De'Aaron Fox – are climbing from the basement now.

Warriors big man Kevon Looney set to return to lineup Monday night

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Golden State could use any good news they can get. Especially on the injury front.

That news is big man Kevon Looney is set to return to the lineup Monday night against Atlanta after missing 20 games with neuropathy, which effected his hamstrings.

Looney averaged just 6.3 points and 5.2 rebounds a game for the Warriors last season, but that understates his importance to the team. He’s a mobile, active big man who understands the way the Warriors want to move the ball on offense and protect the rim on defense. It was evident in the Finals last June, when the Warriors’ offense just flowed better with him on the court compared to DeMarcus Cousins (Looney had to play through painful injuries to get on the court in that series).

Looney will split time with Willie Cauley-Stein and Omari Spellman along the frontline, and as he gets back into game shape expect Looney to get more and more of those minutes.

Harassment charges against Lakers’ DeMarcus Cousins reportedly dropped

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DeMarcus Cousins got married this past summer, but his 7-year-old son didn’t attend the wedding due to a dispute with the boy’s mother and Cousin’s ex-girlfriend, Christy West. That blew up into an ugly situation where Cousins was ultimately charged in Alabama with a third-degree harassing communications misdemeanor, tied to the domestic situation.

Now, those charges have been dismissed, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

Cousins remains out for the Lakers after tearing his ACL this past summer, and he is not expected to return. Because of the surprisingly good play of Dwight Howard and JaVale McGee — particularly as mobile defenders who can show out on the perimeter and recover — the Lakers have not missed Cousins’ presence.

I have no specific knowledge of this case or the truth of what happened between Cousins and his ex. As far as I know, there was nothing to this and should have been dismissed.

However, as someone who spent a chunk of years on a police/courts beat as a young reporter, I feel the need to add this: Domestic violence/harassment cases are exceedingly difficult to prosecute. It can be a he said/she said situation, and unfortunately, often the abused women recant their testimony (whether it was true or not). The situations are a complex mix of emotions and fear, ones that make getting justice difficult. Talk to any prosecutor (or long-time police beat officer) about domestic violence cases and they will tell you horrifying stories. It is a situation that, as a nation, we need to address.

Report: Last summer the Lakers, among others, were hoping Suns would buy out Aron Baynes

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Aron Baynes has been critical to the Suns racing out to a 7-4 start with the fourth-best net rating in the NBA. When Deandre Ayton was suspended for 25 games (after testing positive for a diuretic, a banned substance), Baynes has stepped up and been exactly what the Suns needed. He is scoring 15 points per game, shooting 46.5 percent from three (which is opening up the floor for guys like Devin Booker), and providing a big body defensive presence in the paint.

You can see why the Lakers and other teams were hoping Baynes would hit the market this summer. From Shams Charania of The Athletic.

Suns center Aron Baynes has emerged as a cornerstone piece for Phoenix early this season, supplying defense, leadership and, yes, shot-making. Phoenix acquired Baynes on draft night, and in the weeks to come contenders such as the Lakers hoped Baynes would reach a buyout with the Suns to hit the open market, sources said. Suns general manager James Jones and new head coach Monty Williams wanted Baynes — and are now receiving the rewards for the offseason move. Through 11 games, Baynes is averaging 15 points, 5.5 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 46.8 percent 3-point shooting (two 3s made per game). Baynes will enter free agency next July, and as one team executive said, “He is positioning himself for well over $10 million per year.”

Smart move by Phoenix’s management to hold on to Baynes as an Ayton insurance policy (one they ended up needing). Plus, when trying to change a team’s culture (as Jones and Williams are working to do in Phoenix), you can’t have enough hardworking professionals in the locker room. Baynes brings that.

The Lakers thought they would have DeMarcus Cousins in the paint, but he tore his ACL over the summer. The tag team of Dwight Howard and JaVale McGee has worked surprisingly well for Los Angeles to start the season.

In what will be a down free-agent market next summer, Baynes is going to be in demand. His payday is coming.