1. DeMarcus Cousins is traded to the New Orleans Pelicans
This trade was a confluence of everything that makes the NBA great: clueless decision-makers, a superstar changing teams and of course great Twitter jokes.
It’s unfortunate that most things that make the NBA an entertaining sport to follow and laugh about end up back with the Sacramento Kings at some point. There is definitely no lack of cluelessness, as evidenced by the lump of change the team received in return for Cousins this season. Obvious as it were that the Kings had to trade their superstar, landing a low lottery pick and a mediocre rookie as the only return was horrendous.
We learned after the fact that the market dictated the Kings’ asking price, as no other teams but the Lakers and Suns had any legitimate interest. However, it was also thoroughly reported that Sacramento’s (and especially owner Vivek Ranadive’s) interest in Buddy Hield was incredibly high. Comparing a seventh overall pick with half a season of experience to two-time MVP Stephen Curry is not a great way to appeal to the logical sense of your fanbase. The internet is probably tired of mocking the Kings, but they keep bringing us back.
From the Pelicans perspective, it was an opportunity to pair one of the league’s best players with another All-NBA-caliber big man. Depending on your perspective, New Orleans may have the best frontcourt in the NBA as a result of this trade. They have maintained their defensive excellence since Cousins’ arrival, managing the transition from small ball to a traditional, twin towers style. The offense is a work in progress, but with a summer and full training camp of work, there is room to grow. Cousins is under contract with the Pelicans for next season.
Unfortunately, the development has not been without bumps. New Orleans was too far out of the playoff picture to get back by the time Cousins was comfortable. They will be outside the playoffs for the second consecutive season, despite Davis’s greatness and a veteran coaching staff. Finding and maintaining an identity will be the key heading into the first year of Davis’s new contract and the final year of Cousins’.
As far as deciding the future of the NBA, this transaction provided an avenue for a Pelicans team at the bottom of the Western Conference toward the top. It also gave clarity amidst a rebuild for a Kings team unnecessarily treading water in NBA no man’s land. So interesting.