The DeMarcus Cousins-Sacramento Kings saga finally ended when it was officially announced on February 20th that he would be traded to the New Orleans Pelicans. But where do the two franchises stand now?
The Pelicans have two all-stars now in Cousins and Anthony Davis. The trade arguably puts the best two front-court players on the same team since the Tim Duncan-David Robinson duo; a pairing that resulted in the Spurs first NBA championship.
Davis, coming off a historical 52-point outing in the NBA all-star game (earning the all-star game MVP award), told Jeff Goodman of ESPN that he believes this could possibly be the best thing that has ever happened to him.
“This is an unbelievable weekend. All-Star MVP and now getting Boogie [Cousins]. It doesn’t get better than this.”
However, the Pelicans did trade away valuable and future assets. According to CBSSports, the team decided to trade guards Tyreke Evans, Langston Galloway and Buddy Hield along with their future 1st and 2nd round 2017 picks. The Kings also traded forward Omri Casspi along with Cousins.
This trade gives NBA fans the sense that the Pelicans ownership wants to win-now since they are only two and half games back from the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference.
According to Bleacher Report, Davis and Cousins are the only players in the last four seasons to average twenty points and ten rebounds. The team could rank higher than 11th (ESPN.com) in total rebounds a game.
The future looks bright for the New Orleans Pelicans as they shake up the Western Conference, but what about the Sacramento Kings?
The Kings look to rebuild from the ground up after trading away their franchise player. On paper, the trade seems like the ultimate swindle deal for the Pelicans, who seem to not really give much for the best center in the league. But according to Baxter Holmes of ESPN.com, the reason the trade seems so lopsided is because team owner Vivek Ranadive believes “Buddy [Hield] has Steph Curry potential.”
The deal also makes sense from the Kings standpoint because Cousins’ contract was expiring. Although he had expressed his intentions to stay with the team, they preferred to get something in return for the three time all-star rather than letting him walk away with nothing (look what happened to Kevin Durant and OKC).
Since Cousins was drafted the by the Kings in 2010, the team has never won more than 35 games and has yet to make the playoffs since the 2005-06 season. During the team’s press conference, Vlade Divac, the Kings general manager, believes it was time for a culture change.
“I think he [Cousins] did great things here in the community and for this team, and I wish him nothing but the best in New Orleans. But on second hand, I have to do my job, and I felt like this was the best time to move forward and make a change of the culture, moving forward make a better organization in the future.”
It can be difficult to pin-point which franchise is the clear winner in this trade, but the two teams seem to be moving in two different directions. The New Orleans Pelicans want to win now and build around the top two front-court players in the league, while the Sacramento Kings want to create a new identity for themselves.