Having just played in the 2017 NBA All-Star Game in New Orleans, Louisiana, DeMarcus Cousins had no clue that the Smoothie King Center in which he had just played alongside the NBA's elite would now be his home floor. Shortly after the game had concluded, reports began to circulate that Cousins and teammate Omri Casspi had been dealt to New Orleans in exchange for former Sacramento King and 2010 Rookie of the Year Tyreke Evans, 2016 sixth overall pick Buddy Hield, former Knicks two guard Langston Galloway, the Pelicans 2017 first round selection as well as their 2017 second round selection. The following day, Monday, February 20th, 2017, the trade had become official and Cousins and Casspi would now be ditching their black, gray, purple and white Kings jerseys for gold, navy, red and white Pelicans uniforms.
As with any trade, their are both winners and losers. Here, we take a look at ten winners and five losers of the DeMarcus Cousins trade.
15 WINNER: Buddy Hield
The twenty-three year old Freeport, Bahamas native and former Oklahoma Sooner was obviously the biggest piece in the trade that sent DeMarcus Cousins to the "Big Easy" considering Kings owner Vivek Ranadive referred to Hield as having "Steph Curry potential". Well, Mr. Hield you have quite the pair of shoes to fill considering "Chef Curry" is a two-time defending champion with a career average of 22.6 PPG, 6.8 APG and just a shade under 44% from behind the arc. The likelihood of Hield ever living up to the expectations Ranadive has for him seem nothing short of laughable today. However, what is not laughable is the amount of time Hield will get on the court to shine for the dysfunctional Kings franchise. Hield has the opportunity to be the face of the black, gray, purple and white sporting franchise.
14 WINNER: Vlade Divac
Sacramento Kings General Manager took a subtle shot at DeMarcus Cousins by saying, "winning begins with culture and character matters" once the trade for Cousins was official. Unless you've been living under a rock for the past seven years (since Cousins NBA) you're firmly aware that Cousins is chock-full of character issues. Divac has occupied the post of Kings General Manager since August of 2015 and from the minute he took over the role, he's had a talented conundrum by way of Mobile, Alabama named DeMarcus Cousins on his roster. The on again and off again dilemma of whether or not to get rid of Cousins no longer remains which has to be considerable relief for the former Yugoslavian big man and former Kings Center.
13 LOSER: The Sacramento Kings Fanbase
The Sacramento Kings have arguably been the league's most dysfunctional franchise for the past decade (with all due respect to the New York Knicks). Now, their owner, Vivek Ranadive is trying to sell them on the acquisition of Buddy Hield who he believes has "Steph Curry potential" despite Hield only averaging 8.9 PPG, 2.9 RPG and 1.4 APG in his rookie campaign. Let's compare this to Curry's rookie numbers. Curry averaged 17.5 PPG, 4.5 RPG and 5.9 APG as a rook, meaning he almost doubled Hield's scoring average while tripling (and then some) Hield's assist average. Let's not forget Ranadive referred to Nik Stauskas as "Klay Curry" upon drafting him and look at how well that turned out. The Kings fanbase lost their best player for forty? (insert number of your choosing) cents on the dollar and their owner is as delusional as he is dysfunctional. It's a sad day in Sacramento today.
12 WINNER: Jrue Holiday
It's no secret that the New Orleans Pelicans front office have a considerable amount of fear that Jrue Holiday may leave them in the offseason without them obtaining anything in return. That amount of concern and fear has likely downsized significantly since the trade of Cousins became official. Holiday has been averaging 16.3 PPG and 7.5 APG for the season and by adding Cousins to the Pelicans Holiday looks to see at least the latter of those averages increase. On paper, the Pelicans easily feature the most intimidating and talented front court in the league today. No one benefits more so than the team's starting Point Guard, Holiday, who will be expected to set the two former Kentucky Wildcats with easy scoring opportunities, primarily in the paint.
11 WINNER: Dave Joerger
In seven seasons in Sacramento, DeMarcus Cousins quarrelled with each and every one of his coaches not named Mike Malone. While the author of Furious George, George Karl, was the coach Cousins argued and disagreed with more so than others, the likes of Paul Westphal, Keith Smart and Tyrone Corbin were not spared from Cousins wrath. Joerger either escaped Cousins wrath outright or amazingly joined Malone in illustrious company, becoming only the second coach Cousins got along with in the NBA. Joerger doesn't have to worry about the big man who once read that he was "an emotional lesbian" on Jimmy Kimmel's popular mean tweets segment anymore. Cousins was always a ticking time bomb and Joerger now gets a fresh start without the dysfunctional big man.
10 LOSER: New Orleans Pelicans (Long Term)
Despite Cousins character issues, the Pelicans just acquired arguably the most talented big man in the game today. How could they be losers? Well, this is how. DeMarcus Cousins' agent, Jarrinn Akana said the likelihood of Cousins signing an extension this offseason with a team that he may be traded to was rather slim. In Akana's own words he said, "under the circumstances I would find it highly unlikely DeMarcus would re-sign with a team that trades for him at this point". Now, Cousins is under contract until the 2018 campaign concludes and him signing an extension this year would make little sense as if he waits until next season, he would make an estimated $13 million more per season. For this, Cousins can't be blamed. But, those in the "Big Easy" have to feel a little uneasy considering a long term commitment from Cousins is not currently in place.
9 WINNER: Alvin Gentry
Fresh off a playoff appearance in 2015, the New Orleans Pelicans looked to be the next up and coming team in the West that would be making the leap to be one of the conference's upper echelon teams. In 2015, the Pelicans hired former Golden State Warriors Assistant Coach Alvin Gentry thinking his winning pedigree in the Bay Area would translate to the "Big Easy". It clearly hasn't as the Pelicans were a lottery team in Gentry's first season and haven't faired much better this season (despite being in clear contention for the eight seed). The Pelicans went 30-52 in Gentry's first season and are eleven games below .500 at 23-34 for the 2016-2017 season. Gentry, who arguably was on the hot seat, has got to be relieved now as his Pelicans now feature a twin tower like duo not seen since the tandem of Tim Duncan and David Robinson.
8 WINNER: DeMarcus Cousins
In January of 2017, it became public knowledge that DeMarcus Cousins had the intention of signing a max extension with the Sacramento Kings in the offseason. In February of 2017, Cousins double downed on this statement as he stated his desire to have his jersey hang in the rafters at the Golden 1 Center in Sacramento. Yet, despite Cousins voicing his desire to stay with the Kings, the Kings had other intentions. Cousins never made the playoffs in his six seasons with the Sacramento Kings so it isn't like he's leaving an ideal situation; on the contrary, he's getting a fresh new start in New Orleans. The popular saying of "change is good" is perfectly applicable to Cousins as he now gets the opportunity to showcase his worth in a change of scenery.
7 LOSER: Matt Barnes
According to Marc Stein, the Kings are expected to waive Matt Barnes so they're able to create the necessary roster space in order to finalize the DeMarcus Cousins trade. Now thirty-six, Barnes is no longer a spring chicken. Moreover, Barnes was one Cousins frequently hung out with during his stint with the Kings. And if we're to further analyze GM Vlade Divac's comments, "winning begins with culture and character matters", Barnes is now persona non grata in the Kings locker room. Barnes will likely get a look-see from a number of teams, but today he is a clear loser of this deal as he is temporarily without a team and unemployed. Fear not Matt, perhaps former teammate Derek Fisher may want to shoot the breeze with you with your new spare time!
6 WINNER: John Calipari
Last week, Kentucky Wildcats Head Coach John Calipari made headlines during an interview with Bleacher Report where he stated that an NBA team comprised of all Kentucky players he had coached could win an NBA Championship. Now, the statement was far from ludicrous as Calipari has yielded out a number of talented players especially in recent years from his Lexington, Kentucky program. Not surprisingly, Calipari said he'd start DeMarcus Cousins and Anthony Davis in his front court. A week later, the two bigs are on the same team in New Orleans. Calipari's name has come up often the past few years in regards to an NBA coaching gig. There likely isn't an opportunity today that would entice him more than coaching two of, if not the two most talented bigs (don't want to offend Karl-Anthony Towns) he's ever coached.
5 WINNER: Anthony Davis
Anytime a team acquires a player with the pedigree of DeMarcus Cousins, the team has to be apprehensive as to whether or not their franchise player will be receptive to the move. On one side of the fence, certain superstars are simply elated as they now get to play with an upper echelon player, on the other side of the fence, superstars are upset and possibly even appalled considering someone could possibly take their place as the face of the franchise. When it comes to Anthony Davis, both the Pelicans and Pelicans fans can rest easy. Per ESPN's Jeff Goodman, Davis said of the trade, "this is an unbelievable weekend. All-Star MVP and now getting Boogie. It doesn't get better than this". Davis is not only receptive of the move, but he seems absolutely thrilled which is a great sign for the Pelicans franchise.
4 LOSER: The New Orleans Pelicans Big Men
The New Orleans Pelicans have a number of bigs on their roster such as, but not limited to Alexis Ajinca, Omer Asik, Cheick Diallo, Terrence Jones and Donatas Montejunas who are all capable of playing the four and five position. Each and every one of these bigs will lose a considerable amount of playing time now that DeMarcus Cousins is in the fold. Asik has already seen his time diminish considerably even before the trade. Jones has already been put on the trade block. With all the forenamed players being able to play the 4 and/or the 5, the Pelicans clearly a logjam of Power Forwards and Centers. Look for the Pelicans to try and move some of these players before the 3 PM trade deadline on February 23rd.
3 WINNER: Andy Furillo
The name Andy Furillo isn't one that the majority of diehard basketball fans would recognize, let alone the casual fan would recognize. Furillo is a columnist for the Sacramento Bee who was the recipient of a number of profanities and quite the verbal assault at the hands of Cousins in December of 2016. The reason for Cousins going off on Furillo was due to the columnist's reporting on the incident both Cousins and teammate Matt Barnes were involved in at Avenue Nightclub in Manhattan, New York. Cousins was particularly angered because Furillo had written about his brother in his column. Cousins said to Furillo in his rant, "we’re going to have some real f*****g issues. Don’t ever mention my brother again". Not to worry, Mr. Furillo, Cousins is no longer your problem!
2 WINNER: Tyreke Evans
The 2010 NBA Rookie of the Year returns to the Sacramento Kings for a second run with the trade that sent "Boogie" Cousins to "N'awlins". Evans was quite the talent in "Sacto" as in his forenamed Rookie year he became only the forth Rookie in NBA history to average at least 20 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists joining the likes of LeBron James, Michael Jordan and Oscar Robertson. In Sacramento, Evans never averaged less than 15.2 PPG and was arguably the team's most valuable player throughout his stint from 2009-2013. Evans was having his worst statistical year in New Orleans as he was only averaging a career low 9.5 PPG and only seeing on court action for 18.2 MPG. Evans has had prior success in Sacramento; he now has an opportunity to try and replicate that success in his second stint with the team.
1 LOSER: Vivek Ranadive
Vivek Ranadive has notoriously been against trading DeMarcus Cousins since he took over the team in 2013 despite Cousins name popping up in trade rumors annually, especially in February. Cousins has been linked to a number of teams in years past, particularly the Boston Celtics who have a bevy of assets that could've helped the Kings. For one, they have the right to switch first round selections with the Brooklyn Nets this season which will obviously occur; this pick will almost assuredly land in the top five. The Celtics have a number of young promising and talented players on their roster such as Jaylen Brown, Jae Crowder and Marcus Smart. Ranadive never made a trade with the Celtics come to fruition and most casual and hardcore fans believe the Kings got the short end of the stick in the Cousins deal especially considering what they could've acquired in years past.