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DeMarcus Cousins traded to New Orleans


Kimani Okearah

In a complete 180 from the Sacramento Kings franchise, the Kings have decided to trade DeMarcus Cousins to the New Orleans Pelicans for a deal including Buddy Hield, Tyreke Evans, Langston Galloway and New Orleans’ 2017 first and second round picks. Adrian Wojnarowski was first to report the trade but it was soon confirmed by many others. The exact parameters of the deal have yet to be announced but Omri Casspi seems to also be going to New Orleans in the deal and Galloway is expected to be waived. The pick that the Kings got from New Orleans might also be protected for the first three spots.

Thus ends a tumultuous career for DeMarcus Cousins in Sacramento. In typical Sacramento Kings fashion, this decision came not even a month after Vlade Divac went on record with ESPN that the team would not be trading Cousins. The team seemed set to be offer him a maximum contract extension using the new CBA that would make Cousins one of the richest players in the league. It appears that the money was too rich for owner Vivek Ranadivé.

The Kings will now likely engage in a full rebuild, with the playoffs no longer a serious goal. The top-10 protected pick the Kings owe the Bulls likely won’t transfer as a result but the pick swap with Philadelphia is still in play. The Kings also owe a completely unprotected first rounder to the Philadelphia 76ers in 2019, which now looks like it could be very high given that Sacramento will likely go younger.

Sacramento did not get a big or even great haul for Cousins. That is likely because Cousins becomes a rental for New Orleans, as he is not eligible for the new Designated Player Extension. The trade of Cousins to New Orleans likely makes the Pelicans better as well, decreasing the value of the pick that the Kings did get.

This decision felt rushed, and the haul isn’t great. Even for people who wanted to see the Kings trade Cousins probably don’t feel like the team got enough. This is something that should have been decided a long time ago, before so much time, effort and assets were devoted to building around Cousins.

But what’s done is done. DeMarcus Cousins is going to New Orleans, and the Kings are moving on. Let’s see if this second attempt at a rebuild goes any better than the first. I would say it sure couldn’t be worse, but then again, this is the Kings we’re talking about. I’m done thinking they can’t find ways to disappoint me.