It was confirmed yesterday that DeMarcus Cousins has been traded to the New Orleans Pelicans.
Cousins is currently averaging 27 points and 10 rebounds on the season, one of three players in the league doing so. Who are the others? Russell Westbrook, and new teammate, Anthony Davis.
New Orleans gave up a lot for the 26 year old, trading rookie Buddy Hield, Tyreke Evans, Langston Galloway, and two future draft picks.
Omri Casspi was thrown in alongside Cousins to make space on the Kings roster for the incoming players. Matt Barnes looks set to be waived by Sacramento for the same reason.
The Pelicans have become a legitimate threat overnight and the new duo of Cousins and Davis is being nicknamed the ‘Two Towers’. We have seem some dominant bigs team up in the past, but this combination could be the most dominant of them yet. Between them they are averaging 54 points and 21 rebounds per game. They are both influential on both ends of the floor, and teams will struggle to score inside with these two in the middle.
Kings GM Vlade Divac spoke to the media yesterday and said it was time for a ‘change in culture’ in Sacramento, and that transition clearly begins with Cousins departing. Many pundits are suggesting Rudy Gay won’t be far behind, after describing the Kings franchise as ‘basketball hell’ in 2016.
Just last week Cousins went on record saying that he wanted to retire in Sacramento and see his jersey retired by the franchise.
Divac also said that the franchise wanted to keep Cousins just last week.
The talking point of Divac’s interview with the media yesterday was that the Kings had recieved a better offer just two days before that they had rejected. Which team made the offer is the question. Cousins had been linked to the Celtics during most of the season, and more recently reports emerged about Cousins teaming up with former Kentucky teammate John Wall in Washington.
Cousins was clearly very emotional when saying goodbye yesterday when he addressed his friends and family. He was seen tearing up when thanking the people of Sacramento for their support over the years. Despite never even reaching the playoffs with the Kings, and trading away many of their talented players, including Isaiah Thomas and Hassan Whiteside, he has always been loyal and truly cared about the city.
The Kings franchise are not completely left for dead, acquiring the 6th pick from the 2016 Draft, Buddy Hield. The exciting young shooting guard will look to build a new playing style with the young Kings team. By also acquiring draft picks, they have multiple opportunities to draft future stars that could shape the future of their franchise down the line. They are starting from the beginning, and it’s about time they did, having not made the playoffs since 2006.
The Pelicans finally pulled the trigger on a superstar to team up with Anthony Davis. The number one pick from 2012 has been without much help since the beginning, and despite making the playoffs in 2015, they took a step back last year and fell out of the playoff picture. With Davis now in his fifth season, and sitting just two wins from the 8th seed, a late push could see them squeeze into the playoffs once again with Cousins in the mix.
Whether they make the playoffs or not, the future is extremely exciting for the Pelicans, and free agents may well buy into the plan this summer. With Cousins, Davis and Jrue Holiday leading the line, we could even see the Pelicans competing for it all next season. How can any team defend that offence?
Just when we all thought Cousins was set to stay in Sacramento, he gets traded. The result? The landscape of the Western Conference has taken a dramatic turn. Whilst one team hits reset, the other makes a huge statement of their intentions, and becomes one of the toughest teams in the West overnight.