Earlier today, ESPN's Marc Stein reported that the Cleveland Cavaliers were pursuing Sacramento Kings center Kosta Koufos ahead of Thursday's trade deadline. Koufos, who went to high school in Canton and played at Ohio State, is stuck behind DeMarcus Cousins and Willie Cauley-Stein in Sacremento after signing there as a free agent over the summer.
It might be hard for the Cavs to get Koufos, though. Cleveland isn't exactly loaded with assets and the Kings already rebuffed the Cavs when Cleveland offered Sacramento Timofey Mozgov in a trade. Mozgov, though, probably has to be included in any deal to make it work.
For the Kings' side of things, we reached out Greg Wissinger of Sactown Royalty, SB Nation's Kings blog, for his take on the deals.
Deal No. 1
Cavs send Mozgov, Sasha Kaun and a future second pick in exchange for Koufos
The Cavs have to send additionally salary to Sacramento to make this deal work because they simply don't have the cap space to simply deal Mozgov for Koufos straight up or with only picks attached. For the Cavs, this makes sense because Koufos shouldn't be any worse than Mozgov (and will probably be better considering Mozgov's form this year) and he's on a cheap contract for the next few seasons as the cap spikes. That's valuable for a cap-strapped team like the Cavs.
Sactown Royalty's Take
I think Kaun is intriguing, but not enough to get the deal done. Replacing Koufos with Mozgov doesn't solve any of the Kings problems, and the other pieces aren't enough to tip the tables.
Deal No. 2
Cavs send Mozgov, Kaun, Mo Williams, Jared Cunningham and a pick to the Kings in exchange for Koufos and guard Ben McLemore
This, too, makes a lot of sense for the Cavs. Aside from getting Koufos, McLemore - who the Cavs were linked to last week - is on a cheap rookie deal and has shown flashes this year of becoming a rotation-level player. He'd also serve as injury insurance for Iman Shumpert this year and act as a potential J.R. Smith replacement if the Cavs decide to part ways with Smith after the season.
The problem is that the deal - if only slightly - cuts into the Cavs' depth. Williams hasn't really made much of an impact this year, but the Cavs are three-deep at point guard with him. That may play a factor.
Sactown Royalty's analysis
Similar problem as the first go round. I'm not sure the return is enough. I'm not sure how Mo Williams fits the Kings. Part of the problem is that the Kings are such a mess, it's difficult to project how anyone fits in.
The big issue here - and it's really the issue the Cavs would have with any hypothetical deal that doesn't involve Kevin Love - is what Cleveland has to offer isn't all that attractive. But maybe there are other offers here worth a look. For instance, one offer that Greg countered with was Mozgov and Shumpert for McLemore and Koufos.
In any case, the Cavs might have a tough time acquire Koufos or any player ahead of Thursday's deadline.