On Sunday, just after the conclusion of All-Star Weekend, the Sacramento Kings traded their only representative in the game DeMarcus Cousins to the New Orleans Pelicans.
In return, they received young shooter Buddy Hield, returning from injury veteran Tyreke Evans, Langston Galloway and the Pelicans’ two picks in the 2017 NBA Draft, with the first rounder top-three protected. The Pels also acquire Omri Casspi as part of the deal.
Wait, there’s more.
Kings general manager Vlade Divac admitted he had a better offer for Cousins two days previously but decided against taking it at that time. He instead went with a weaker offer from New Orleans, with a number of teams also trying to pitch a deal in the final moments.
What is at least initially apparent are two things, one for each side. The Pelicans finally have an All-Star to go with the supremely talented Anthony Davis, creating a devastating two towers in the frontcourt, while the Kings signalled that enough was enough with Boogie.
A tempestuous six-and-a-half year stint of failing to have a winning season, throwing fits against coaches and teammates alike while consistently being a headache with attitude on the court finally meant a divorce for Sacramento and Cousins. They couldn’t take any more.
The Sac team couldn’t afford the risk of tying him to a big deal to keep him, despite Cousins’ desire to stay and earn the big bucks. The return they got was paltry at best, unless they can draft two big players in the summer to help start the rebuild, but there simply wasn’t a big enough market for him.
There’s no doubting Cousins’ talent, an All-Star player that had been overlooked for a few years before making it and a real pest on offense and on the boards. What you also gain is his 16 technical this season, a league high that led to a suspension, along with a raft of coaches that simply didn’t fit his mould.
That’s also not to say that the road to redemption can’t lie in New Orleans. This is Davis’ team, a growing leader and someone that respects what Boogie brings to the table.
No longer is the burden solely on him, no longer should he feel the need to do everything on every single night. Both finally have someone to lean on, someone to learn from and someone they can potentially create a devastating core with.
At the same time, they need to keep their eye on Boogie. Help him mature, guide him in the way that’s needed to get the best out of him or this could explode in your face, which could even affect Davis’ future with the franchise as well.
Meanwhile, back in California, they can start anew. The owner, the GM and the coach are no longer tied to someone they were always uneasy with but attached to that is the fact that they now need to prove it was the right decision for everyone.
If they swing and miss in the draft, if they fail to show signs of a rebuild on a team that should have built around Cousins anyway, then it shows a real ineptitude on their end. When you lose a player of that quality, you need to show why and that could be involved in their downfall if they fail.
This is undoubtedly a huge trade that has big ramifications for both teams. Starting this Thursday when Boogie suits up with Davis for the first time against the Houston Rockets, we can start getting answers on whether this trade was a beautiful romance or a car crash waiting to happen.