Superstars collided in the Big Easy over the weekend as New Orleans hosted the 2017 NBA All-Star game. With fans eyes on the annual spectacle, everyone let their guard down that a trade could happen over the weekend before the deadline. Celebrities, superstars, fans, and executives flooded the Smoothie King Center as the stars aligned in the Mardis Gras capital of the world. The grand spectacle saw New Orleans’ own Anthony Davis capture the All-Star Most Valuable Player award, another accolade for New Orleans over the weekend. But no one suspected that the biggest accolade/victory had yet to come to the city of New Orleans. In a stunning turn of events through all of the commotion of the All-Star game, Sacramento Kings traded superstar DeMarcus Cousins to New Orleans. New Orleans had to send back Tyreke Evans, Langston Galloway, Buddy Hield, a 2017 first round pick and a 2017 second round pick. The Pelicans also received forward Omri Casspi from Sacramento.
Shock and awe rang through the league. A blockbuster trade like this hasn’t happened in quite some time. Hell, a blockbuster like this wasn’t even supposed to happen with DeMarcus Cousins. The ownership of the Sacramento Kings told Cousins and his agent that Cousins was not going to be traded before the deadline. Obviously, the Kings ownership did what they do best and made a terrible basketball decision.
DeMarcus Cousins was a superstar in Sacramento, which has been few and far between for the city to come by. Even rarer, Cousins was a superstar that wanted to stay in Sacramento his entire career and retire as a King. General Manager Vlade Divac took massive public and private strides to assure Cousins [and everybody else] that he would not be traded. Cousins was on the brink of signing a 5-year, $209 million extension with the franchise in the offseason.
For New Orleans, the move is a season-saver. They pair the 26-year old DeMarcus Cousins, arguably the best center in the league, with 23-year old superstar Anthony Davis, the best power forward in the league. This gives the Pelicans more chips on the table to try and convince point guard Jrue Holiday to re-sign with the franchise in the offseason. Sitting at 11th in the Western Conference with a record of 23-34, the Pelicans sit just 2.5 games back of the 8th seeded Denver Nuggets in the playoff race in a tightly contested conference (once again).
For the Kings, this is a terrible basketball decision. Yes, you can see the reasons why Sacramento traded Cousins. Ownership had cold feet about committing $209 million to a superstar whose temperament they publicly and privately questioned. They asked whether or not they wanted someone whose maturity (for lack of better term) was always in the spotlight to be the face of the franchise for years to come. The ownership has also decided that they were going to fully commit to a rebuild without the only loyal superstar they’ve had this decade.
In all reality, the Kings traded piles of gold for some vouchers. The only two important pieces they received in the trade were Buddy Hield, the rookie sharpshooter that they highly coveted at last year’s draft, and a 2017 first round pick. Hield definitely has potential to be a star in the league for year’s to come, but it’s way too early to bank on that kind of rapid development. The 2017 first round pick is crucial as this year’s draft is absolutely loaded.
Cousins is worth much more than what the Kings traded him for. Sacramento traded Cousins to avoid building around a superstar with an at-times toxic personality. In reality, DeMarcus Cousins is the one avoiding toxicity by escaping Sacramento and pairing up with Anthony Davis in the Big Easy. This is yet another move by the Kings front office that simply leaves us scratching our collective heads.