• Another DeMarcus Cousins rumor has surfaced amidst a slow start in Sacramento, so thank heavens my fainting couch is nearby. Cousins may not be a King past the deadline, if the latest in a long line of anonymous sources predicting a Boogie trade are finally correct.

    Sporting News has the scoop, with one anonymous Western Conference GM saying ““I’d say they have three months, tops. Probably more like a month, or month-and-a-half, because the closer they get to the deadline, the less they’re going to get back. If you’re trying to trade him the week of the deadline, it’s going to be tougher.”

    Firstly, it’s tough to take any Cousins rumor seriously at this point. Enough people have cried wolf that these reports fall on deaf ears unless there’s substantial information behind them. To simply say that the Kings will trade Cousins because they’re floundering is bottom of the barrel analysis from this GM.

    There’s also the fact that any concerns with Cousins only serve to widen the value gap. The off-court nonsense and knowledge of Cousins’ true demeanor probably makes him more valuable to Sacramento than any potential dance partner, thus adding to the difficulty of a monster deal. And really, Cousins hasn’t exactly been provided the organizational infrastructure to excel. He certainly has excelled, but rarely with the front office and coaching staff on the same page. Cousins has been an electrifying talent that has never really had the support of those around him- either on the court, on the bench, or in the luxury suites. Some of that could certainly fall at Cousins’ feet, but I tend to think the lack of cohesion lies more on the organization than a single player.

    Secondly, it’s foolish to use Kings’ part-owner Shaquille O’Neal’s recent comments as evidence one way or the other. Shaq, despite his role with the team, doesn’t seem like he’d be totally in the know about basketball decisions. Not to mention his penchant for saying whatever is on his mind. The same attributes that make him an affable TV presence don’t exactly translate to being a reliable oracle for major transactions.

    Lastly, this makes absolutely zero sense given what the Kings have stated publicly about Rudy Gay. Gay has requested a trade and informed the team that he won’t re-sign this offseason when he becomes a free agent. That’s more than fair. The Kings reportedly are holding off on acquiescing for the time being, hoping to contend under new coach Dave Joerger while proving to Gay that Sacramento is on the right path. It’s incredibly unlikely that Gay can be convinced to stick around but apparently the Kings are going to try.

    So let’s put two and two together:

    The Kings are refusing to trade a player who has made it known that he would like to leave and won’t be back anyway because they think they can convince him to stay. And yet we’re supposed to believe the Kings would jump ship on a far superior player, with an extra year of control on a contract that produces infinitely more bang for the buck? They want to recoup value for Cousins but are content with losing Gay for nothing?

    I’m not buying this one. It’s the Kings, so we can’t discount anything, but it’s highly unlikely that this goes beyond the usual scuttlebutt.

Fantasy News

  • Damian Lillard
    PG, Portland Trail Blazers

    Damian Lillard was unstoppable while leading the Blazers to a 139-129 victory over the Pacers on Sunday, totaling 50 points (14-of-23 FG, 14-of-16 FT), 13 assists, six rebounds, eight 3-pointers and one steal.

    This will go down as one of the best fantasy lines of the entire season. Lillard has gone for 61, 47 and now 50 points over his last three games. Despite C.J. McCollum returning to help lighten his load, Lillard still dominated over 38 minutes. He just keeps getting better, and if he can do this all season he is going to be in the conversation for a top-5 selection next year.

  • Jeremy Lamb
    SG, Indiana Pacers

    Jeremy Lamb woke up from his recent stupor of mediocrity in Sunday's loss to the Blazers, notching a team-high 28 points on 10-of-15 shooting and a full line.

    Lamb rounded out his line for the night with two rebounds, one assist, two 3s, two steals and one block. He combined for 31 points over the last four games prior to tonight's gem. After this rampage on the stat sheet, you can consider his buy-low window officially slammed shut.

  • Hassan Whiteside
    C, Portland Trail Blazers

    Hassan Whiteside was fantastic vs. the Pacers on Sunday, registering 21 points (9-of-11 FG), 14 rebounds and six blocks.

    This was a high scoring affair, and it will be interesting to see if Whiteside can continue averaging 15 points a game alongside a fully healthy roster now that C.J. McCollum returned to the lineup. Either way, Whiteside is indispensable as long as Jusuf Nurkic (leg) remains out. Until Nurkic is back in action Whiteside is going to keep beasting with early-round value.

  • Domantas Sabonis
    C, Indiana Pacers

    Domantas Sabonis dropped a huge line in Sunday's loss to the Blazers, erupting for 27 points on 11-of-17 shooting with 14 rebounds, 11 dimes and one blocked shot.

    Sabonis is a beast and that beast was unleashed tonight in the absence of Myles Turner (illness). While his line was not enough to carry his Pacers to victory, the stats he put up in the box score were huge in the fantasy arena.

  • Doug McDermott
    SF, Indiana Pacers

    Doug McDermott caught fire for the Pacers on Sunday night, making six triples en route to a 19-point performance on 7-of-11 shooting with one rebound and one assist.

    Streaky 3-point shooting specialists like McDermott are almost always worth riding out until their hot streak ends. He's making it rain over his last couple of games, so keep rocking him for a boost in that specific category.

  • CJ McCollum
    SG, Portland Trail Blazers

    C.J. McCollum (left ankle sprain) had a successful return against the Pacers on Sunday, putting up 28 points (11-of-21 FG), six 3-pointers and five assists.

    McCollum jumped right back into the swing of things after missing the past three games and played nearly 36 minutes in this one. It's terrific to see no restrictions and that he was happy initiating the offense. Damian Lillard is on fire, but he more than happy to have McCollum chipping in, and you can count on his scoring abilities delivering mid-round value.

  • Jakarr Sampson
    SF, Indiana Pacers

    Jakarr Sampson drew the start for an ill Myles Turner on Sunday and saw just 17 minutes with an unremarkable three rebounds and two points on 0-for-3 shooting from the field.

    Sampson obviously is not worth your time right now, so move on.

  • Devin Booker
    SG, Phoenix Suns

    Facing the Grizzlies on Sunday, Devin Booker continued his scorching hot play in defeat, going for 36 points (11-of-24 FG, 9-of-10 FT), five 3-pointers, five assists and one block.

    The broader line was a bit thin, but it is tough to complain about Booker's ability to wrack up infinite amounts of points on strong shooting. The sky is the limit assuming the Suns can hang around the playoff race, although it would be quite the feat to see Booker shoot over 50 percent from the field for an entire season. On the other hand, Ricky Rubio struggled in this game, with five points (1-of-10 FG), five rebounds, three assists and three steals. At least Rubio still delivered those steals and a 3-pointer to save this performance from being a total disaster.

  • Deandre Ayton
    C, Phoenix Suns

    Deandre Ayton shot poorly while totaling 17 points (7-of-19 FG, 3-of-5 FT), but also produced 15 rebounds, three steals and two blocks against the Grizzlies on Sunday.

    The shooting was underwhelming but Ayton received nearly 40 minutes on Sunday, and that kind of opportunity is bound to produce massive double-doubles. Ayton's block-rate has advanced well this season, averaging 1.4 per game, and if he maintains that rate he will have no problem delivering early-round value for the remainder of the season.

  • Kelly Oubre Jr.
    SF, Phoenix Suns

    Kelly Oubre Jr. had a strong across the board performance on Sunday against the Grizzlies, going for 27 points (9-of-10 FT), nine rebounds, three assists and two 3-pointers.

    Oubre received 38 minutes in this matchup, and it looks like he is gradually rounding back into form after missing a couple games due to a concussion. The steals and blocks have not been rolling in since Oubre's return, but the points and rebounds have been there, and he should return to mid-round value in no time.