It looks like all that talk about DeMarcus Cousins staying in Sacramento for the long-term, which I reported as a “smokescreen” over a week ago, was exactly that. In a shocking move announced on Sunday night the Sacramento Kings traded DeMarcus Cousins, ya’ know that guy that was going to sign that extension to stay in Sac-town, to the New Orleans Pelicans for Buddy Hield, Tyreke Evans, Langston Galloway, a 2017 first-round pick and a 2017 second-rounder.
The Kings will also send Omri Casspi to New Orleans as part of the deal.
First, congrats to the Pelicans who set out to pair another big man alongside franchise cornerstone Anthony Davis, who stole the show this past All-Star weekend. They had been linked to teams such as the Nets (involving Brook Lopez) and even the Sixers (for Jahlil Okafor) but took advantage of the pure stupidity of the Kings franchise leadership.
For that, a round of applause for landing Cousins and pairing one of the league’s premier big men alongside one of the league’s premier big men. New Orleans will be a force to reckon with from here on out, should Cousins and Davis gel.
And that’s a big “if”.
Now my thrashing of the Kings isn’t because they dealt Cousins in the end, it made sense, especially if the organization was truly done with dealing with their franchise headache and his never-ending antics.
But the way they went about it was pure incompetence and I would even question the haul they got in return as “nothing special”. Sure, they get a slew of draft picks in what is widely considered to be a deep draft, but its’ top 3 protected, so if the Pelicans get some luck in the draft lottery and walk away with any pick between 1-3, well, then this looks worse.
If the Kings were so intent on dealing Cousins, why on Earth wouldn’t they make that public knowledge? We all knew it anyway.
If their defense was that they wanted to avoid the distraction of trade rumors, well the distraction already existed because the rumors, despite the attempts of the Kings and Cousins, simply wouldn’t go away.
By making Cousins publicly available the trade market opens up a bit more. Once the media picked up to story, a story with actual legs, then people start talking. And players start talking. And fans start talking. And front offices start hearing the talk.
Would it have changed the outcome? Maybe. Maybe not.
But I have a particularly hard time believing that the Kings couldn’t have gotten a better deal then what New Orleans gave them. What about what the Celtics could offer?
How about that rumored Phoenix Suns offer that reportedly included the likes of Tj Warren, Alex Len, draft picks and perhaps Brandon Knight? That, on paper, seems far better in comparison to the Pelicans deal.
New Orleans fleeced Sacramento and showed the league and the world just how inept their front office is.
ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne reported that the Pelicans are confident they will convince Cousins to sign a contract extension to stay in New Orleans in the near future. New Orleans won big and should be doing cartwheels for what this deal could eventually lead to.
But the Kings have a lot of explaining to do to a fan base that has always expected more and gotten far less and it seems that the bad culture that exists in the organization isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.