There has perhaps never been a player who has been in trade rumors without ever actually being traded for longer than Demarcus Cousins had. Well, less than an hour after playing just 2:27 in his third NBA All-Star Game, Demarcus Cousins has been traded to the New Orleans Pelicans, first reported by Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical.
Sacramento has agreed to trade DeMarcus Cousins to the New Orleans Pelicans, league source tells @TheVertical.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) February 20, 2017
This trade gives the Pelicans a dominating frontcourt tandem, pairing Cousins with this year’s All-Star Game MVP, Anthony Davis. Cousins (27.8) and Davis (27.7) are currently fourth and fifth in the league in scoring, and 6th (Davis; 11.9) and 11th (Cousins; 10.6) in the league in rebounding. As arguably the top two players at their positions, the defensive attention both guys will demand could give opposing frontcourts their share of nightmares.
Only two-and-a-half games out of the 8th and final playoff spot in the West, the Pelicans clearly made this trade as a win-now move. They have finally found another star to pair with Davis, and with the two of them being only 23 and 26 years of age, respectively, the Pelicans now have a duo that can continue to build and grow together and dominate the Western Conference and the NBA for years to come. The trade does come some risk; however, with Cousins eligible to enter free agency next summer, but this is a risk the Pelicans were obviously more than willing to take and were smart to take.
As for the Kings, this is a trade that had been expected for a while, but still comes as a surprise. Currently, just a game-and-a-half out of the 8th playoff spot, trading their best player will likely drop them even further outside the playoff race as we enter the down-stretch of the regular season. However, the two draft picks the Pelicans sent them will be valuable in what will be a very deep draft. They also made out pretty well in landing Buddy Hield, who is just eight months removed from being the 6th pick in this past year’s draft. Finally, trading Cousins gets the Kings out of having to dole out an excess of a $200+ million contract extension to Cousins, who would have been eligible to receive that much this summer, preluding his upcoming free agency during the summer of 2018. That was perhaps the top reason as to why the Kings decided to make the move now rather than later.
Nonetheless, this trade is sure to shake up the Western Conference and continues what has already been a crazy and hectic trade deadline season in the NBA, and we still have four days left!