50/50 turned into 100 percent in the blink of an eye. CSN California has confirmed that pending league approval, the Sacramento Kings have dealt three-time All-Star DeMarcus Cousins, as well as forward Omri Casspi to the New Orleans Pelicans for Tyreke Evans, Buddy Hield, Langston Galloway and a protected (1-3) 2017 first round pick and 2017 second round pick.
Vlade Divac chose the path of least resistance. Cousins, a larger than life personality, was not only ready to sign a $219 million extension in early July, but he was willing to stay in Sacramento for the long haul.
Be it financial constraints from owner Vivek Ranadivé or a complete break with reality, the second-year GM decided to break up the Kings’ core and start fresh with a below market value deal with the Pelicans.
Sacramento attempted to move up in the 2016 draft to take Hield, but the 23-year-rookie went with the sixth overall pick. He is averaging just 8.6 points per game on 39.2 percent shooting for New Orleans. He was tossed from his only game in Sacramento this season after grabbing Cousins below the waist during the team’s last homestand.
Kings fans know Evans very well from his four seasons in Sacramento. Who can forget the 20-5-5 season that led to Evans’ 2010 Rookie of the Year Trophy? But the talented wing has played in a combined 51 games over the last two seasons for New Orleans, slowed by a myriad of lower leg issues.
Evans is averaging just 9.5 points, 3.5 rebounds and 3.3 rebounds in 18.2 minutes per game for the Pelicans. At 27, he might have quality years ahead, but his history of injuries make him a giant question mark and his status as an unrestricted free agent might tell a broader story.
Galloway is a throw in on the deal. The three-year NBA veteran has struggled to find a niche with the Pelicans after two seasons with the Knicks, averaging 8.6 points in 20.4 minutes a night.
The real value in this deal lies in the potential first and second round picks that Sacramento received in the deal.
According to published reports, the first round pick is top three protected, although the Pelicans are likely to improve from their current 23-34 record. New Orleans currently sits tied for the eighth spot in the 2017 NBA Draft order if the season ended today.
Cousins was leading the Kings in almost every offensive category, including points (27.8), rebounds (10.7) and assists (4.9). His loss will likely prove catastrophic for the Kings’ playoff chances this season, despite trailing the Denver Nuggets by just 1.5 games in the standings with 25 games remaining.
Casspi has struggled throughout the season with injury and illness. He will get a fresh start in New Orleans after playing just 22 games for the Kings this year.
In order to make the proposed deal, the Kings will have to waive a player to make room for Hield, Evans and Galloway.
UPDATE: Was this the moment DeMarcus Cousins was told of the trade?
And this tweet from Cousins' camp has them in limbo:
We don't even know where to go... pic.twitter.com/NV1ySfJvun— Andrew Rogers (@Andrew_Rogers_) February 20, 2017