We’re only about 24 hours removed from the announcement that one of the league’s premier frontcourt talents, DeMarcus Cousins, has been traded to the New Orleans Pelicans. The details of the deal came as a shock to many around the NBA, but that doesn’t change the fact that Cousins will now be teaming up with Anthony Davis. Effectively forming the most talented frontcourt of the past decade.
The word is still out as to whether or not the Kings made a foolish move by trading the big man who represented the team in three All-Star games -or even if Cousins and Davis can coexist on the same floor together-, but that doesn’t mean we can’t speculate about how this deal will be remembered. It’s with that in mind that Real Ball Insiders decided to do a quick roundtable grading the deal from both sides, featuring Sean English (@SeanMEnglish) and myself (@ponaxWardell).
In the minds of many, DeMarcus Cousins is the best big man in the league. A trade was evident, but the package the Kings got in return is abysmal. Tyreke Evans, although solid, has not been the same player we saw in his Rookie of the Year campaign. Buddy Hield has not adjusted to the league well, but the verdict is still out on the former University of Oklahoma star. Langston Galloway was also included in the deal, but is a non-factor (he’s likely to be cut by Sacramento). The Pelicans sent a first round pick, which is top-three protected and a second rounder to go along with it. To put that into perspective, the Denver Nuggets received two first round picks when they traded Timofey Mozgov to the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2015. That’s right, just let that sink in.
I honestly don’t know what was going through Vlade Divac’s mind when he accepted this deal. Like, did he genuinely think he and majority Owner Vivek Ranadivé wouldn’t face intense scrutiny for pulling the trigger here? I guess that’s kind of besides the point, but it just doesn’t add up to me. The Kings managed to trade arguably the best center the Association has to offer on the offensive end, for a player whose rookie season lines up closer to Emmanuel Mudiay’s than Steph Curry’s. That’s definitely not a knock on Mudiay either, as he was only 19 years of age during his rookie campaign. Hield is 23. You know who else is 23? Bradley Beal, another shooting guard who many felt was snubbed out from replacing the injured Kevin Love in the All-Star game. So yeah, Sacramento continues to make every wrong move you could possibly think of. Well… maybe not every bad move.
Anthony Davis now has some help, something he has lacked throughout the entirety of his career in NOLA. Cousins is a bonafide superstar, and is under contract through 2018 (meaning this won’t be a one-year rental). The only concerning factor is the supporting cast on the Pelicans roster. Jrue Holiday is a stud, but Solomon Hill and E’Twuan Moore round out their starting five. New Orleans’ bench is underwhelming to say the least, and they should continue to search for a trade partner in order to move Terrance Jones.
Do you remember how the start of the chorus for Debarge’s hit song “I Like It” goes? No? Well, it goes like this, “Ooh.. Ooh… and I like it.” That’s how I feel about this deal for the Pelicans. This trade seriously feels like highway robbery, but I love it! Every little detail that’s been revealed about this deal makes it that much better for the city of New Orleans. Namely: giving up only one first round pick, and somehow managing to put a protection on it. I can’t wait to watch Boogie and AD share time on the floor together, especially if it increases the intensity of the race for the eighth seed in the Western Conference Playoffs. I still think the Pelicans should make some other moves to improve their complimentary pieces, but as far as this deal is concerned, they hit an out-of-the-park grand slam.
After a move of this magnitude, do you expect other big-time deals to go down?
It’ll be interesting to see what the Denver Nuggets do (or don’t do) before the deadline. They currently find themselves 2.5 games ahead of the Pelicans in the race for the eighth seed. If a deal gets done to bolster Denver’s odds, then I’d like their chances of making the playoffs. There have been recent murmurs that suggest that the Bulls are not looking to trade Jimmy Butler. Paul George has been noted to saying that he wants to play on a winning team. Oh, and the disastrous New York Knicks; yeah there’s a chance that Derrick Rose is gone before the deadline, as there recently have been talks with the Minnesota Timberwolves to deal the oft-injured former MVP.
With the trade deadline looming, it’ll likely be a crazy time for the NBA and its fans.
It wouldn’t surprise me if this deal sends the rest of the league into some sort of last-minute frenzy before the deadline. I’m talking absolute chaos. Almost every hour there seems to be a new report that a player known league-wide is legitimately being shopped by their respected team. I think that this could be one of the biggest collective firesales that the NBA has ever experienced, but I’m also prepared for absolutely nothing else major to happen. Such is the case with the trade deadline. You never truly know what will happen. However, I’ll be pulling for absolute chaos because it means that I’ll have more to write about (nerd-out over).