As everyone knows by now, the Kings have traded DeMarcus Cousins to the New Orleans Pelicans. Many of us, myself included, have been proponents of trading Cousins for quite a while now. Sacramento has been unable to surround their All-Star with similar talent for too many years and his trade value has only been decreasing due to his contract status. The dreams were of a Boston or LA or Denver super trade which brought back a young stud and multiple first-round picks. The Dwight Howard and Carmelo Anthony trades were often looked to as examples as to what organizations should seek in a deal such as this.
Unfortunately, the Kings inability to do anything right reared its ugly head again tonight. Vivek Ranadivé and Vlade Divac dealt DeMarcus Cousins and Omri Casspi for Buddy Hield, Tyreke Evans, Langston Galloway, the Pelicans 2017 first round pick (1-3 protected), and Philly’s 2017 second round pick.
Let’s step back and think about just the picks for one moment. The ineptitude of this franchise has traded its best player in over a decade while also barring itself from acquiring the best player in the deepest draft in recent history. If the Pelicans miss the playoffs and somehow win the lottery, they keep their pick and it becomes unprotected in 2018. If the Kings win the lottery, the pick gets swapped with Philadelphia due to another recent, moronic trade made by Vlade Divac. The Kings will also lose their own 2nd round pick to Chicago from the J.J. Hickson trade.
Sacramento did get a young-ish, potential stud in Buddy Hield. Unfortunately, he’s one of the oldest rookies from last years unimpressive draft and his production has been inconsistent at best. His main weapon that brought him to the league was his dynamic three-point shooting, but DeMarcus Cousins has made more long-balls than Buddy Hield this season. Tyreke Evans comes home and will likely walk at the end of the year and some reports have the Kings waiving Langston Galloway.
In that context, the Kings really walk away with an older, decent rookie, a non-top 3 draft pick, and a second rounder. Good stuff, Kings. Also, after years of no shooting guard production, Sacramento now has Ben McLemore, Malachi Richardson, Arron Afflalo, Buddy Hield, Tyreke Evans, Langston Galloway, and the rights to Bogdan Bogdanovic to fill the position.
The issue with this trade doesn’t simply lie in the return. Our front office also managed to somehow further strip their reputation of any goodwill or trust throughout the league. Vlade Divac repeatedly and publicly stated that the Kings were planning on extending DeMarcus Cousins in the summer and there was no way he was being moved. A couple of weeks pass, and look at that, the Kings went back on their word. Multiple reports have stated that Vlade Divac and Sacramento have lost all credibility with other agents, and frankly, they deserve that reputation.
Several agents have already told me that SAC has lost all credibility after assuring Cousins he would not be traded this year & extended.— Keith Smith (@KeithSmithNBA) February 20, 2017
Way Kings handled Cousins situation not going unnoticed in agent community. Most understand moving on but they told him they were committed— Steve Kyler (@stevekylerNBA) February 20, 2017
Me to a NBA front office guy - "I don't get the Kings."— Dan Woike (@DanWoikeSports) February 20, 2017
NBA front office guy - "No one does."
Every reputable media member also discussed multiple trade offers being brought to Vivek by Vlade. This tells us that not only did our owner lie about the lack of effort brought by Geoff Petrie in his October interview, but he also lied about his involvement in the decision-making process. Time and again, Ranadivé has proved his ineptitude as well as his stubbornness when it comes to giving up control.
Another piece that fits awkwardly into the pile of crap that is the Sacramento Kings is Dave Joerger. Coach Joerger is a guy who enjoys his veterans and has always been critiqued for his lack of rookie development. He also is one that is not afraid to speak his mind or make a move if he feels it’s best for him. Joerger just started to build some consistency and implement his system and the Kings have just pulled the rug out from under him. More than likely, a large majority of Darren Collison, Arron Afflalo, Kosta Koufos, Matt Barnes, and Anthony Tolliver will be dealt for incoming assets. Is Joerger really going to want to stick around through a painful rebuild? Is a potential new GM going to want to have “his guy” in the locker room?
So, how do we fix this?
Step 1: Fire sale!: Trade every veteran who has any modicum of value by Thursday and see if you can get another first rounder and some young talent or a couple of second round picks. Collison, Lawson, Afflalo, Tolliver, Barnes, and Koufos should all be gone by the end of the week.
Step 2: Let your voice be heard. I can’t attend many Kings games as an out-of-state fan, but I 100% support booing the right individuals. Sacramento is going to lose a lot of games this year, through no fault of the players on the court, but if you see Vivek or Vlade on the jumbotron, boo your heart out.
Step 3: Fire Vlade this summer. The man has been terrible throughout this tenure as a General Manager. The Philly trade was one of the worst in the history of the league because of what it failed to accomplish and this Boogie trade is even less palatable.
Step 4: Fire Vivek. This one is a lot harder to accomplish. Mark Mastrov or the Jacobs brothers should absolutely make a play for power in any way that they can. They should know that they would have the full support of the fan base.
Step 5: Hire Sam Hinkie. It’s not that hard to see who should be the next GM. Sam was a master of the rebuild in Philadelphia and should be able to help the Kings start “The Process” towards legitimacy.
Step 6: Tank HARD for two years. The Kings are losing their 2019 pick to Philadelphia, so it’s vital that we get a top 5 pick in 2018 and as high of a selection as we can this upcoming draft.
This main issue in this entire story line isn’t that the Kings traded DeMarcus Cousins. The issue is that Sacramento revealed itself to be the leaky, sneaky, underhanded, inept, owner-dominated organization that many suspected, while dealing away its best player in years for a smorgasbord of unimpressive picks and players. Until severe changes in the top of this franchise occur, no amount of “culture change” is going to make a damn bit of difference.