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How the Wizards could get DeMarcus Cousins with John Wall

Cousins to Washington could become a hot topic this summer, but it will take some work to make possible.

NBA: New Orleans Pelicans at Washington Wizards Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

DeMarcus Cousins is set to be one of the top free agents this summer.

The former Kentucky Wildcat and eight year veteran was set for a big payday prior to tearing his achilles earlier this season. The New Orleans Pelicans gave up their farm for the all-star last spring and missed the playoffs.

However, Cousins and fellow former UK star Anthony Davis seemed to have figured it out this season. The two were both posting career-years on the block and the duo looked like they could cause serious damage to top-contenders in the Western Conference.

As payday nears, though, the Pelicans reportedly are shying away from giving Cousins his well-deserved max deal. With Cousins likely being a top target for the Los Angeles Lakers, a team on the opposite coast could also be in play.

In an interesting twist, Portland Trail Blazers guard CJ McCollum said that Cousins to the Washington Wizards is a “real possibility.” It’s interesting because Cousins’ former Kentucky teammate, John Wall, just signed a long-term contract with D.C.

What makes it difficult, though, is that the Wizards are expected to be $23 million over the cap for next season. With Bradley Beal, Otto Porter Jr. and Wall inked to major deals, they’d have to do some serious moving.

There is a move, however, that could ultimately land Boogie Cousins.

Porter Jr. signed a max deal last summer, worth $106 million over four seasons. He’s set to make $26 million for the upcoming year. While his 3-and-D play style is key to the Wizards core, he’s not and will likely never be an all-star.

Cousins is not only an all-star but an all-NBA talent and would be the third star to a team that desperately needs to climb to the next level of postseason success.

So what’s the move, exactly?

The Wizards would conduct a sign-and-trade with the Pelicans, swapping Porter Jr. for Cousins. The Pelicans have drastically increased their pace since the Cousins injury and Porter certainly fits that playing style. His style of play also spaces the floor and guards opposing wings, two things that greatly benefit a team in the Western Conference.

For the Wizards, they’d get their third star and rejoin the two former Wildcats. The key here is, though, that they draft Porter Jr.’s replacement in the draft. With the 15th pick, Kentucky’s Kevin Knox could possibly slide in their favor.

They could also trade up a few spots to ensure they get him. Other players expected to be taken in that range are Miles Bridges and Jacob Evans. The Wizards also have Kelly Oubre Jr. on the bench, a player who is a late bloomer but certainly coming into his own.

In a conference where guarding Lebron James, Ben Simmons, Gordon Hayward, Demar Derozan, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Kris Middleton, etc. is almost an every night occasion, I doubt the Wizards will surrender their top defender without drafting his replacement and ensuring Cousins is 100% back to health.

However, if they draft their guy and Cousins is indeed back in top-shape, a Wall-Cousins pick-and-roll with Beal and Knox on the wings is certainly frightening.