Lakers said to be chasing DeMarcus Cousins as NBA rumor mill heats up

Sacramento Kings center DeMarcus Cousins laughs while hosting a basketball camp in Taipei, Taiwan, on June 8.

Sacramento Kings center DeMarcus Cousins laughs while hosting a basketball camp in Taipei, Taiwan, on June 8.

(Chiang Ying-ying / Associated Press)

A song by the 1980s group Timex Social Club called “Rumors” could just as easily be the national anthem for the NBA.

One of the lyrics in the song begins, “How do rumors get started?” Another asks, “Did you hear that one about . . . ?”

Fill in the blank and the rumor can apply to just about any NBA team, or player, and can be started by any assortment of people.


With the NBA draft on the horizon Thursday, the Lakers on Monday became one of the teams involved in the rumor mill, along with the Sacramento Kings and Orlando Magic, according to NBA executives who were not authorized to speak publicly about the matter.

The Philadelphia 76ers and Boston Celtics, two teams known for making deals, also have been mentioned in the predraft rumor mill.

It’s all a part of how some general managers and agents do business.

A story circulating Monday indicated the Lakers were trying to acquire Kings center DeMarcus Cousins, a potential deal that could include a third team, such as the Magic, and involve Los Angeles’ No. 2 overall pick in the first round.

It is a deal the Lakers could potentially pull off on July 1, when they finally get salary-cap space. It would require that they draft a player with the No. 2 pick, sign him and then trade him.

But Vlade Divac, Sacramento’s top front-office executive, told the Sacramento Bee on Sunday that trading the 24-year-old Cousins, who is to make $14.72 million next season, “is not happening.”

The Magic’s part in the deal could involve sending center Nikola Vucevic to the Kings. But an Eastern Conference executive said Orlando had no interest in doing that deal.


League executives also said the Celtics were trying to move up in the draft, using their two first-round picks and two second-round picks as bait.

The executives said the Celtics were looking to trade point guard Marcus Smart and the Nos. 16 and 28 picks in the first round to Philadelphia for center/forward Nerlens Noel and the No. 3 pick. But the 76ers, the executives said, weren’t interested.

Executives said teams with multiple picks are trying to trade some of them and move up in the draft. The 76ers, for instance, have six draft picks — one in the first round and five in the second round, Nos. 35, 37, 47, 58 and 60 — and may look to package some of those or even sell a few of them.

The Clippers are a team looking to buy a second-round pick.

Among local college players, UCLA’s Kevon Looney and Norman Powell are expected to be drafted Thursday.

Looney is a 6-foot-9 forward whom many scouts view as a “Lamar Odom type” who can make plays. Looney, who will be in the draft green room Thursday night at the Barclays Center in New York, is expected to go in the top 20 picks.

Powell is a 6-4 guard whom many scouts see as a “Tony Allen type” who can be a strong defender. Most projections have Powell going in the second round.