The NBA All-Star Weekend has come and gone. Things were almost pretty pedestrian. Other than the game being played in New Orleans instead of North Carolina (because spineless Adam Silver and friends pulled a Bon Jovi and caved to the PC police, moving the festivities due to the Tarheel State’s ‘bathroom bill’), there wasn’t much buzz going into things. Other than wondering if either team would score 200 points, the break seemed to serve as just that for fans–a break from basketball. That all changed after the Sacramento Kings made a royally ridiculous transaction that sent shock waves throughout the association.
Inexplicably, the Kings traded their star–the big dog–Boogie himself, DeMarcus Cousins to the team hosting the All-Star Weekend. Sacramento sent All-Star Cousins and Omri Casspi to the New Orleans Pelicans in exchange for Buddy Hield, Tyreke Evans, Langston Galloway, and 2017 first and second round draft choices. In other words, the Kings were fleeced. While the blockbuster move crowns the Kings as the laughingstock of the NBA, kissing Cousins goodbye creates a powerful Pelicans 4/5 punch, teaming one big man with just as big a man, Anthony Davis. Boogie and the Brow! The Big Easy is bound to be really hard for opposing clubs this season, and possibly for years to come. The Pelicans owe a lot to the Kings and they need to thank them profusely for their ineptitude.
Sacramento General Manager Vlade Divac is admitting he had better options on the table before pulling the trigger on the Cousins deal. That is of little solace to Kings fans. Some speculate that Cousins’ attitude may have made trading him a bit easier. So, as Divac once said in a Schick razor commercial decades ago, the Kings may be “no longer irritating”. That’s up for debate. There’s no doubt however, that the team is no longer on the upswing.
Now, it’s not like the Kings were world beaters before the break. They’re only 24-33. But their feistiness and heart endured them to many and in the battle for the final playoff spot, they’re actually only a game and a half behind 8th place Denver. With Cousins heading to Louisiana though, look for the Kings to move closer to the cellar dwelling Phoenix Suns, with any hopes of challenging the Nuggets, the Pelicans, or anyone for the postseason as good as dead.
DeMarcus Cousins is a monster on the floor, averaging 27.8 points per game this season. He’s also pulling down 10.8 boards per contest and dishing out 4.8 assists. That’s impossible to replace right away. It’s unlikely those kind of numbers will be matched by anyone in California’s capital city for years to come.
Cousins is really good but the fantastic news for the NBA is he’s only getting better. Along with his gaudy numbers in points and rebounds, he also shoots around 36% from three-point range. Cousins is 26-years old and 6’11”. You can’t teach that. He did all of this playing for a franchise that is basically a circus yet still excelled. While Ringling Bros. is closing down its operations, the Kings will continue to serve as clowns to the masses.
While Cousins’ contract expires in 2018, the Pelicans will have a legitimate chance to sign him. Not only will he feel wanted in New Orleans, he will also be partnered with Davis, a fellow Kentucky Wildcat. Cousins should forecast the team having a bright future. Any reasonable offer could keep him in town for the long haul. Worst case scenario, New Orleans could trade him before he walks. Either way, the Pelicans have already won.
Now for a moment let’s pretend Sacramento didn’t make one of the worst moves in NBA history. They did but let’s have some fun. Let’s say Cousins’ run-ins with coaches, players, and officials were just too much. Fine. But, the Kings could only get one first rounder? They couldn’t acquire any top players? Trading a man is one thing. Getting very little in return is another. This is simply a bad, bad job by Kings owner Vivek Ranadive and the entire organization. Guys like Cousins may be built like trees, but they certainly don’t grow on them. The Pelicans struck gold in acquiring the Olympic gold medalist while the Kings are jokers at best.
There is one more winner in all of this, and that’s the Philadelphia 76ers. Philly has the option of trading their top pick with Sacramento at this year’s draft. That pretty much assures another very high selection for the Sixers. See that? You should trust the process. Unless you’re a Sacramento Kings fan. Then you should burn your season tickets and gear up for the Sacramento River Cats. Hey, it’s only Minor League Baseball, but you’ll save money, see some San Francisco Giants prospects, and unlike the Kings, at least the River Cats have a chance to have a winning team.