Sources told ESPN that the Lakers have been actively pursuing trade scenarios in recent weeks in attempt to construct a deal that would convince the Kings to part with Cousins.
The Kings, though, continue to insist that Cousins is not available. The team's new lead decision-maker, Vlade Divac, told the Sacramento Bee in Sunday's editions that dealing away his best player "is not happening."
Sources say that the Lakers, Kings and Orlando Magic have had exploratory dialogue on a three-way Cousins trade that would land the 24-year-old in Los Angeles. All three teams hold top-six picks in Thursday's NBA draft, and Orlando has a young, top-flight center of its own in Nikola Vucevic, who could theoretically fill the Cousins void.
Yet since assuming control of the Kings' front office in April, Divac repeatedly has downplayed the idea of parting with Cousins, who has three seasons left on an extension he signed during the summer of 2013.
The Lakers would appear to have limited assets to get into the trade sweepstakes for Cousins -- in the event that Sacramento's stance changes -- beyond surrendering prized young big man Julius Randle, young guard Jordan Clarkson and the No. 2 overall pick in Thursday's draft. The Lakers, furthermore, could not legally trade the No. 2 pick until after making the selection and introducing that player as a Laker, because teams are precluded from trading first-round picks in consecutive drafts and the Lakers' 2016 first-rounder is already owed to Philadelphia.
Orlando holds the fifth pick in Thursday's proceedings but would presumably expect a lot to be willing to part with Vucevic, who signed an extension of his own last October and has become the most consistently productive player from the four-team blockbuster trade in August 2012 that sent Dwight Howard from the Magic to the Lakers.
Divac, though, told the Bee in the recent interview that his preference is to "do something, a small move, before the draft."
"We have a lot of changes to make," said Divac, whose Kings hold the sixth overall pick Thursday night. "The league is much more up-tempo now and we need more 3-point shooting. If we don't get that in the draft, we'll be active in free agency and see about making trades later in the offseason."
ESPN reported in May after the Boston Celtics' first-round elimination that the Celtics planned to be at the front of the line in terms of trying to trade for Cousins this offseason.
The Denver Nuggets also have been increasingly mentioned as a likely trade suitor for him since the hiring of former Kings coach and Cousins favorite Mike Malone as their new coach. But Denver wouldn't appear to have the sort of trade assets to rival Boston's cache of future first-round picks, which tend to become especially handy when trying to assemble multi-team trades.