Looks like All-Star Center Demarcus Cousins will be staying in New Orleans longer than just the weekend.
The New Orleans Pelicans scooped Cousins up in a bargain deal for Tyreke Evans, Buddy Hield and two draft picks in 2017 late after the All-Star game. The first round pick that Sacramento will receive is a projected top-3 pick, so that’ll hypothetically be Lonzo Ball from UCLA or Malik Monk of Kentucky, but that won’t replace the impact of Cousins right away. This season, Cousins is averaging 27.8 points per game and 10.7 rebounds per game, and if he stayed with the Kings next season he would be eligible for an extension of 5 years, $209 million. With being traded to New Orleans, Cousins will be eligible for an extension of 5 years, $179 million.
While Cousins was under scrutiny for having a detrimental impact on the Kings because of technical fouls and dirty plays, General Manager Vlade Divac was adamant that the Kings will not deal Cousins. It’s a head scratcher that after comment, the Kings would in turn deal Cousins within the conference and for almost nothing in direct return. The Pelicans are two games out of the 8th spot and look to surge into the playoff race with the pair of Anthony Davis and Cousins.
The duo of Davis and Cousins looks magnificent on paper, two of the elite big men in the NBA on the same squad. But team chemistry is always a question about bringing two dominant players onto the same team, but don’t expect hardships between the two. Their styles of play differ, and don’t combat one another. Davis and Cousins also have history together while being on the same Kentucky basketball team and playing on Team USA. With a playmaker in Jrue Holiday already in the fold, the Pelicans are building for their future and hoping that Boogie can be around to make magic happen.
The trade for Cousins reveals the mindset of the franchises involved. The Pelicans are looking to win now. Re-signing Cousins for the future to contend against the Warriors and Spurs is a must. The Kings are looking to rebuild their franchise through the draft and, by letting go of Cousins, cap space is cleared. With doing so, the Kings could land a quality free agent in the summer if they show promise that they’re moving in the right direction. In the short term, the Pelicans have upgraded substantially by combining the talent of Cousins with Davis and Holiday. In the long term, if Cousins does not re-sign with the Pelicans, the Kings are the winner because they can place themselves in prime position to restructure their franchise and compete.