L.A. Lakers among teams who will regret not trading for DeMarcus Cousins

Sacramento Kings v Los Angeles Lakers

Finally, after years of rumors and half starts and uncertainty surrounding the long-term status of DeMarcus Cousins in Sacramento, he was available.

While Cousins was preparing for, and then playing in, the NBA's All-Star Game on Sunday in New Orleans, Vlade Divac and the Kings front-office brass was working the phones, eventually deciding Boogie should ultimately stay in the Big Easy

In those hours where Boogie went from untouchable to on-the-move, teams such as the Los Angeles Lakers will someday regret the move they didn't make to bring Cousins along.

As the NBA trade deadline approaches on Thursday, it was believed that the Boston Celtics and Lakers were among the few teams able to pry away a superstar like Cousins (or Chicago's Jimmy Butler, or Anthony Davis of New Orleans, even).

It was believed a haul of assets such as Boston's valuable picks from Brooklyn, or picks from L.A. coupled with a young star such as Brandon Ingram, was the only way a high-profile deal could get done.

In the end, Cousins was apparently available for less than many believed the Kings would ultimately demand.

"Boogie" is reportedly being packaged with Omri Casspi for rookie Buddy Hield, the Pelicans first- and second-round picks in the 2017 draft, Tyreke Evans and Langston Galloway.

Utah Jazz v Los Angeles Lakers

THE UNTOUCHABLE?

The Lakers were apparently very much involved in Boogie trade discussions, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo, the leading source of NBA trade rumors/breaking news.

But Mitch Kupchak and the Lakers front-office were apparently unwilling to part with Ingram as the centerpiece for a Cousins deals.

Now, in this context, one thing we don't know is the other pieces of the apparent trade talks.

Maybe the Lakers already had draft picks or another young asset such as D'Angelo Russell or Julius Randle already on the table, and the Kings wanted Ingram added on top of that.

But the way Woj makes this sound implies that Ingram was completely off the table as the centerpiece, which Hield ultimately ended up being.

Ingram could be a star down the road. He's just 19, and his shooting woes and lack of overall production can easily be explained by the NBA growing pains for such a young player.

But when an established star like Cousins becomes available, Ingram is the type of player you can part with. He's still a gamble, while Cousins brings instant credibility, despite his rocky behavior in Sacramento.

It's a bet Magic Johnson and the Lakers should've made.

WHAT ABOUT OTHERS?

New Orleans and the Lakers are the only teams Woj is reporting as serious suitors for Boogie on Sunday, but other teams might come to regret their inaction.

Boston, for instance, is a team that can swing a deal for almost any player in the league.

The Celtics have picks and young assets galore, but with Isaiah Thomas leading the way, the Celtics might believe they are title contenders right now.

Boston Celtics v Chicago Bulls

This is a situation where someday, Danny Ainge of the Celtics might come to regret the inaction, and the current hot streak the team is on could've lulled the front office into the security of being a serious contender now and down the road.

But let's be serious: The Celtics are not winning a title this season.

It's understandable, though, that Ainge didn't want to bring Cousins' volatility into the current Boston locker room. The team is in good shape now and will certainly be looking at deals to get the best roster they can now and in the future.

There will be other moves for them to make.

But for teams like Los Angeles (or Minnesota or Philadelphia), who are still in asset-acquiring mode, Cousins should've been too enticing to pass up.

Especially when the only hurdle was an unknown quantity such as Ingram.

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