Tag Archives: Sacremento Kings

Who wins in the DeMarcus Cousins trade?

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This could be a dynamic duo. Source: Sports Illustrated

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.

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Pressure is on Divac to deliver after this trade. Source:

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.

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Has the East finally conquered the West in the NBA?

The Cavaliers lead the charge but the rest of the East has improved.  Source: Bleacher Report

The Cavaliers lead the charge but the rest of the East has improved. Source: Bleacher Report

It has been a running joke for almost the past decade that the Western Conference has held complete dominance over the Eastern equivalent in the NBA. Despite the East winning four of the last 10 NBA Finals, they have been demolished in terms of regular season wins and inter-conference games by those that play a little later here in the UK.

However, the balance of power looks to have shifted this year and in striking fashion.

The Eastern Conference have 10 players over .500 this season, similar to what we saw in the West last season, after just five teams managed that total in 2014/15. Whether that record continues will yet to be seen but adding to that, the team with the best record last season, the Atlanta Hawks, are currently outside of the playoff places despite going 14-12.

So how has this happened? The simple maths tells you that teams that struggled with injuries or chemistry last year have managed to pull it together. Other than the Cleveland Cavaliers, who were excellent last season too and could get better, most teams have had something that has changed their season.

Going down the confernce standings, the Chicago Bulls have a new coach that emphasises on offence and that’s getting the best out of the likes of Nikola Mirotic and Doug McDermott. It hasn’t been a rousing success, they are still waiting for Derrick Rose to return to MVP-like form that he may never reach and Jochaim Noah to find himself, but Chicago were pretty good last year too.

Paul George, a certainty for comeback of the year.  Source: Fox Sports

Paul George, a certainty for comeback of the year. Source: Fox Sports

The Indiana Pacers have been dramatically changed by returning All-Star Paul George, who is really playing on an MVP level.  He’s averaging 26.2 points per game, fifth best in the NBA, along with 7.8 rebounds and 4.1 assists. George put the power forward experiment to bed quickly and he’s proving why they should have never considered it in the first place.

Miami have all their pieces they traded for fit and ready to play. They have gelled well, they play some serious defence again and they have enough firepower to deal with any team. Dwayne Wade is ageless, Chris Bosh is still great, Hassan Whiteside is a monster in the making and Goran Dragic is the ideal point guard to add to that great mix.

Toronto haven’t changed too much, with DeMarre Carroll adding some strong defence, but they need to find more offence from somewhere other than DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry. They are possibly the best backcourt in the league and Jonas Valanciunas was growing into a solid piece until his injury, his return might be the spark they need.

The Hornets have just found their chemistry in Charlotte, especially after Lance Stephenson left. Nicolas Batum was always a good pickup, Jeremy Lin is actually playing good basketball and Al Jefferson is still a beast, before his silly suspension, then add the surprise form of Jeremy Lamb.

Orlando were a solid team just waiting to grow. They have three great guards, Nikola Vucevic is a really solid player and their coach is pulling them together. Detroit Pistons are another team that just needed to reduce the log jam as Andre Drummond and Reggie Jackson look like pieces for their present and future.

The Magic, led by Elfrid Payton and Victor Oladipo, have been a nice surprise.  Source: sircharlesincharge.com

The Magic, led by Elfrid Payton and Victor Oladipo, have been a nice surprise. Source: sircharlesincharge.com

Teams like Atlanta are just outside, Boston have a good solid team that are well coached and New York have finally found some traction despite their poor record. Even the Milwaukee Bucks, who everyone thought could make the leap, have shown in flashes real brilliance and are certainly a team to keep an eye on. That’s also considering that Washington Wizards have a good team but just aren’t competing right now.

Looking into the deficiencies of the other conference and it’s the usual mix, big teams underperforming and players injured. The Los Angeles Clippers look to have finally got out of their early hump and the Houston Rockets are hanging in there despite still being in a funk.

New Orleans have had an abysmal injury crisis and Anthony Davis is not playing at his full level. Phoenix and Utah have not met expectations, the Kings are good but only on their day and Portland are really missing the star power behind Damien Lillard.

So is the East better now? On current evidence it’s hard to deny. Back in early December, the East was 57-55 on games against the West and that just shows you that the gap is not as big as it looks on paper comparing conferences.

It is good to see both conferences be competitive but at the same time, it is weighed against the dramatically poor starts from the Philadelphia 76ers and the Los Angeles Lakers. However, the real question becomes that come playoff time, can anyone knock off the Cavs? I’m not so sure yet.

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