A new season is upon us, and with it comes plenty of intriguing storylines. From massive traves and superstar uncertainty in the East to a West perhaps the deepest it has ever been, here is an early season NBA Power ranking.
Somehow, Someway the Sacramento Kings Won the Demarcus Cousins Trade
1 year and 10 months ago the Sacramento Kings traded Demarcus Cousins and Omri Casspi to the New Orleans Pelicans and in return received Buddy Hield, Tyreke Evans, Langston Galloway and a first and second round pick from the 2017 draft. The topic of the trade was Demarcus Cousins and mainly how the rest of the basketball world felt the Kings got ripped off. The Kings gave up Demarcus Cousins who was an MVP candidate, and in return they received three players who combined (26.7 PPG) were averaging less points than Demarcus Cousins was as an individual (27.8 PPG). The man responsible for the lopsided trade was Kings GM Vlade Divac, and feeling the heat he made a bold claim about the future of the two franchises.
Vlade Divac said during an interview immediately following the trade that, "I totally understand why some fans would be upset. They supported DeMarcus, and I like DeMarcus a lot. But I believe we are going to be in a better position in two years. I want to hear again from these same people in two years. If I'm right, great. If I'm wrong, I'll step down. But if I go down, I'm going down my way."
Those two years are just about up and it seems Vlade Divac is either some sort of oracle or just extremely lucky.
Neither of the two players the Pelicans received are still with the team, Omri Casspi was waived during the same season and Demarcus Cousins signed with the Golden State Warriors this offseason. Langston Galloway and Tyreke Evans are also no longer with the Kings but Buddy Hield and the draft picks payed dividends.
The Kings used the draft picks to add Justin Jackson, Harry Giles and Frank Mason. All three have contributed to the Kings' success.
A look at current NBA standings has the Sacramento Kings as the 10th seed and just a game and half out of the playoffs along with a 23-22 record while the New Orleans Pelicans are currently 21-24 with the 12th seed in the West. A remarkable turnaround for a Sacramento team that finished 27 and 55 last season, and the key to that turnaround has been the growth of the forgotten man from the Demarcus Cousins deal . . . Buddy Hield.
Hield is one of the favorites for most improved player and it is well deserved. Buddy Hield is currently hovering around 20 points a game and ranks 7th amongst all shooting guards in points, one spot above all-star guards Jimmy Butler and Victor Oladipo. Hield's offensive contribution has given the Kings the contribution from the 2-guard position they have not had since Kevin Martin in 09.
Essentially, the Pelicans gave the Kings a budding star in Buddy Hield, three young prospects, and cap room by taking on Demarcus Cousins' huge contract. In return the Pelicans got basically nothing . . . Demarcus Cousins is gone and they are worse off than the Kings.
This serves as a warning for teams who give up huge assets in order to acquire a superstar that might leave anyway. The Pelicans gave up a ton to acquire Demarcus Cousins and gained nothing once Cousins chose to leave for Golden State. The Raptors may end up learning this same lesson the hard way if Kawhi Leonard decides to leave next season.
Two years later it seems the Kings won the deal some called the most lopsided trade of all time. Vlade Divac was right which means he gets to keep his job.
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