Only a few week into the season and the Eastern Conference has already been filled with surprises.
It started with the projected favorites in Cleveland and Boston having shaky starts, with the Giannis and the Bucks jumping out to a great start. The Celtics turned it around ASAP, and currently sits atop the East, while the Cavs are still floundering in the middle of the standings. Milwaukee’s hot start has been halted and they are now stumbling, only further proving that the Eastern Conference is ripe for the taking.
With all of the up-and-down teams this year, only one squad has stayed consistent: the Washington Wizards.
While the Wizards have been good, (I believe) they should be going out after one superstar to really complete their team: DeMarcus Cousins.
Wizards receive: DeMarcus Cousins, Omer Asik, 2018 1st-round draft pick, 2019 1st-round draft pick
Pelicans receive: Kelly Oubre Jr., Marcin Gortat, Tommy Satoranasky, Jason Smith
Why the Wizards Should Be Trading for Cousins
The Wizards are a good team, and already have a fighting chance to represent the Eastern Conference in the NBA Finals. With superstars in John Wall and Bradley Beal leading a strong group of role players, Washington can hang with almost every team in the league. However, the NBA today is about superstar talent (ask the Warriors). After Wall and Beal, the talent level definitely drops off on the Wizards roster.
The DeMarcus Cousins project in New Orleans has not turned out as planned. The Pelicans thought the Boogie/Anthony Davis duo would produce success, but serious lack of talent around the two has lead to mediocrity in the Western Conference, and it can confidently be said that NOLA will not be jumping any heavyweights in the West anytime soon. Not only that, but Cousins is also on the last year of his contract, and in the prime of his career, it is not likely he will be returning to a team seemingly going nowhere.
So, with each team headed in opposite directions, why not the two teams make a mutually beneficial trade?
Why the Wizards Make the Trade
It is pretty obvious why Washington should make this trade. By getting Cousins, the Wizards would have 3 superstar talents in Cousins, Wall, and Beal, a rising young talent in Otto Porter Jr., and solid role guys in Markieff Morris, Jodie Meeks, and Tim Frazier.
In order to get you must give, and the Wizards would be doing that by parting ways with Kelly Oubre Jr. Oubre Jr. is a young wing with a ton of talent, but he and Gortat (a very serviceable center) become expendable when talking about getting the best center in the NBA.
It will really boil down to whether or not Washington is willing to give up it’s next two first round draft picks. While that would really put a dent in young talent, one must look at what talent the Wizards already have locked up for the future. Beal and Porter Jr. are under contract until 2021, and Wall until 2023. With that much young talent (Wall is 27 while Beal and Porter Jr. are both 24) for that long, taking a chance now on adding someone of Boogie’s stature should definitely be thought over. I believe that Cousins-Wall-Beal-Porter Jr. lineup would give Washington the best bet in becoming the top dog in the Eastern Conference.
Why the Pelicans Make the Trade
The Pelicans have incredible talents in Cousins and Davis, but it has been proven that those two alone are not enough. With Boogie only being in New Orleans for sure until the end of this season, the Pelicans have to start to think about using Cousins trade value to really start up the rebuild process. Cousins is playing incredibly, and NOLA would be able to get a lot for him.
This trade makes perfect sense for the Pelicans for several reasons. Obviously, the two draft picks will be crucial. Those picks give the Pelicans four 1st-round draft picks the next couple years, which will hopefully produce some young talent to surround Anthony Davis with.
Receiving Kelly Oubre Jr. and Marcin Gortat are also great pickups for the short and long-term. Gortat is a very dependable center who rebounds and plays defense, and Oubre Jr. has shown great promise to be a strong wing player in the NBA at only 22 years old. The core of Davis, Oubre Jr., and current Pelican Jrue Holiday will be aided by 4 first round draft picks the next two years, and would put New Orleans on a fast track to being an up-and-coming team.
The Wizards need another star right now, and the Pelicans need to prepare to rebuild for the future. This trade helps each team attain their goal?