For the past couple of seasons, there were numerous rumors that Sacramento Kings star big man Demarcus Cousins might be traded away. Various teams linked to him included the Los Angeles Lakers- although only briefly, the Boston Celtics fairly heavily at times, and even the Phoenix Suns earlier this season.
Kings management, particularly general manager Vlade Divac, continually affirmed that Cousins was going to stay put in Sacramento, on February 6th saying that, “We want him here for a long time.” Since Divac last insisted that Cousins wasn’t going to be traded, it seemed as if the team was prepared to offer him a max contract this offseason for 5 years, worth around $209 million. Despite that many fans, media, and news presences still had it in the back of their mind that there was potential for Cousins to be traded.
The NBA All-Star game took place last Sunday night. Cousins himself only played two minutes, amassing three points and one steal. Anthony Davis was the MVP of the game, putting up 52 points which broke Wilt Chamberlain’s All-Star game scoring record of 42 points. After the game, Cousins was interviewed and asked about trade rumors. Whether he knew at the time or not the speculation would come true. Later that night, it was confirmed, Demarcus Cousins had played his last game in a Kings uniform.
Traded to the New Orleans Pelicans, he will team up with Anthony Davis, the previously mentioned All-Star Game MVP, who is also a former Kentucky Wildcat. In addition to Cousins, the Pelicans receive small-forward Omri Casspi from the Kings. The Kings in return gain rookie shooting-guard Buddy Hield, veteran wingman Tyreke Evans- who actually started his career in
Sacramento, another young guard Langston Galloway, and a first and second-round-pick in this year’s draft.
One factor into the trade appears to be how impressed Divac is with the talent, potential, and work ethic of Buddy Hield. A major problem for Cousins in his career has been his attitude on and off the court. Divac cited this as one reason for parting ways with Cousins saying, “It was time for a change and I decided this was the best direction for the organization. Winning begins with culture and character matters.” This season Cousins has racked up 19 technical fouls and has 109 on his career. After gaining 16 techs a player faces suspension, so that will affect Cousins and his new team the rest of the season. Aside from technical fouls, he has had confrontations with officials and other players, and this season even screamed the f-bomb at Golden State Warriors fans regarding their team.
This season, Cousins is averaging 27.8 points-per-game and 10.6 rebounds per game, while new teammate Anthony Davis is averaging 27.7 points-per-game and 11.9 rebounds-per-game. The two are the first teammates to average 20 & 10 since Tim Duncan and David Robinson did so for the San Antonio Spurs during the 1997-1998 season. On paper, the new dynamic duo should be successful for New Orleans, but they haven’t played a game together yet so time has yet to tell.
By: Jarrett Whitson