Just mere hours after the conclusion of the 2017 All-Star Game, in a shocking turn of events, Western Conference All-Star DeMarcus Cousins is now a member of the New Orleans Pelicans. Trade rumors surrounding Cousins had been swirling for months however, Cousins agent Jarinn Akana recently told ESPN that “They have assured me, and DeMarcus, that the Kings won’t trade him, and are committed to signing DeMarcus long term.” For Cousins this will provide the young Center with a fresh start however, right now it probably feels as though he has been stabbed in the back. Now, one has to wonder if the Sacramento Kings had anything to do with Cousins only playing two minutes in Sunday night’s All-Star Game.
On to the biggest question, just how much did the Pelicans give up to acquire its new franchise big man? Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical is reporting that sources have confirmed New Orleans has traded rookie standout Buddy Hield, Tyreke Evans, Langston Galloway (whom which is reportedly likely to be waived), a 2017 first and second round (via 76ers) draft pick. Along with Cousins, it is also being that Omri Casspi will also make his way to New Orleans whether he stays or not, is another story.
DeMarcus Cousins will be a free agent during the summer of 2018 and his agent, Jarinn Akana told ESPN that Cousins is unlikely to sign an extension this summer with any team that trades for him. The Pelicans have officially gone all in on jump-starting its rebuild and trying to win now however, the loss of Evans and Hield will now leave the team with a large gap at the Shooting Guard position. In a time period where the NBA is evolving into a “small ball” league, it is very interesting that a team like New Orleans, who already have a franchise big man in Anthony Davis, would give up a large amount of their perimeter and three-point shooting for yet another franchise big.
The Sacramento Kings on the other hand now find themselves in an interesting situation. Finally, after years of trying to develop and sign a top tier guard, the Kings not only receive a veteran Shooting/Point Guard in Tyreke Evans but, also receive a potential future franchise Guard in Buddy Hield. Evans however, has struggled to stay healthy over the past two years playing in only 25 in 2015-16 and 26 games this season although, a return to Sacramento where the now 27-year-old played the best basketball of his career, may help to turn things around. At 24 years old Buddy Hield has a massive upside. After being overlooked by many teams during the draft due to his age, 24, Hield has shown flashes of elite potential throughout the season thus far. Averaging 8.6 points, 1.4 assists and, 2.9 rebounds per game, Hield has scored over 18 points four times and, 20 or more twice. Add the first and second round draft picks the Kings received in the deal and it appears as though this trade was not entirely terrible for Sacramento. The team now does not have to worry about trying to sign Cousins to a potential $200+ Million Dollar contract however, the aftermath will almost certainly hurt the team.
Kings General Manager and NBA Legend Vlade Divac had stated many times that the team believed in and wanted to keep Cousins. With the 26-year-old having now been traded, false promises and statements may cause the relationship between current and future players to be strained. This coming summer, the Kings will almost likely have a hard time attracting free agents considering its General Manager was not able to keep a major promise.
Adding DeMarcus Cousins finally will allow the New Orleans Pelicans to take a heavy workload off All-Star Center Anthony Davis. On the season, Cousins is averaging 27.8 points, 10.6 rebounds and 1.3 blocks per game. Now that the Pelicans have added another star to build around Davis, it will be interesting to see if a likely reduced workload will slow down the rate at which the young superstar becomes injured. No longer will Anthony Davis literally has to do it all himself. The Pelicans may have given up a lot in this deal but, will most definitely see a more healthy Anthony Davis on the court for years to come. All that is left to do, is begin the process of trying to sign DeMarcus Cousins to a long-term extension.
Make sure to stick around for NBA Trade Deadline day on Thursday, February 23rd. With the first blockbuster deal completed and confirmed, this year's Trade Deadline is shaping up to be one of the most productive and, unpredictable in recent history. Perhaps, with DeMarcus Cousins on the move, the floodgates are about to open.