Soon after the 2017 NBA All-Star Game reached its conclusion, the biggest trade this season and maybe the biggest in the history of the New Orleans Pelicans went down.
Upon doing some post game press obligations, Demarcus Cousins found out that he had been traded from the Sacramento Kings to the Pelicans in exchange for Buddy Hield, Tyreke Evans and two future draft picks. His response was a simple shrug and an emotionless answer that was a clear indication of why the move probably had to to be made for all parties involved.
For the Kings, on paper, the move looks like a total loss. You lose by far your best players and one of the best big men in the league who is in the beginning stages of his prime while getting back a rookie and a former player who has been massively bitten by the injury bug. You lose what you thought would be the cornerstone of your franchise for many years to come. You lose a legit 25 and 10 big man who always put up the numbers, but was never truly surrounded by players who could carry the load with him.
What you also lose is a player who although produced numbers, was a nuisance who would let his temper get the best of him many times, resulting in many technical fouls and constant rifts in the locker room between teammates and some coaches. You also lose a player who has proven to be incapable of making the players around him better and as a result, oftentimes looked to be the only talented player on the floor while his teammates just simply surrounded him.
You ultimately lose a player who began to show his penchant for leaving Sacramento for greener pastures, no matter how many times he had publicly stated he wanted to resign with the team. Again, the shrug and emotionless response given after he heard the news reiterated that sentiment.
Kings play-by-play announcer Grant Napesr described it best in a radio interview the day after the deal happened when he said,
“The Kings are gonna have another bad season this year, and in my opinion, he’s largely responsible for it. He’s largely responsible for it because his teammates just flat-out get sick of it. They don’t want to deal with it. He sucks the air out of the locker room. Disrespectful to your superiors, disrespectful to authoritative figures, it’s flat-out wrong. Now, I don’t know about you, okay – I’ve seen six years of it, and I’ve seen enough, okay? But I’m not – I don’t make the decisions about this organization. I have a talk show, and I announce the games. Alright? These decisions are way above my head. That’s not what I do.”
He also went on to describe it as a bad marriage that lasted too long in an interview with NBA TV last night.
These sentiments expressed by Napear are harsh, but truthful in most respects. Cousins, talent-wise, was the face of the franchise. Behavior and character- wise? No. It’s because of this aspect that Kings fans should look at this trade in a positive light. Yes, you lose a franchise talent, but not necessarily a franchise player. With a great NBA draft approaching with some great talent, fans can assume that the Kings will be able to pick up someone who can be developed into a star and more preferably, someone who’s attitude is in the right place.
We’ll see how this works out for the Pelicans who now have two of the best big men in the league in one front court. Being only three games out of the playoff race with 25 games to go presents a lot of hope in New Orleans.
This move won’t be a question of the talent of the team now, but more about if they will be able to coexist together. If they can formulate some type of chemistry over the next two months, the Pelicans can be a dangerous team in the stretch run.
With the Cousins trade, do you think the Pelicans will make the playoffs? Let’s talk about it here or find me on Twitter @Phenombc3.